Practicing Creativity

A Trip to a Small French Food Market

In addition to weekly outdoor markets, you can find smaller stores around France that focus on fresh fruits and veggies and regional foodstuffs – cheese, meat, poultry, wine, etc. The produce is predominately French, although some is from elsewhere in the EU and abroad. These are not grocery stores, there are no household cleaning products or the like, they are exclusively food shops. The amazing freshness of the fruit and veggie displays in this shop near us are such works of art I thought you might enjoy seeing them. 

Note – in addition to the name and price of the fruit/veggie for sale, French law requires the country of origin also be shown.

In the photo above: French myrtilles (blueberries) and Belgium groseilles (currants). In the bottom left center – between the groseilles and cerises,  you have freshly picked noisettes (hazelnuts). I love hazelnuts, don't get me wrong, but buying them this way is just too much work for me. I like taking them from a bowl already shelled, grilled and salted, preferably accompanied by a beer.

These are French bananas from Guadeloupe and Martinique, and small seedless pastèques (watermelons). The preciously wrapped mangoes are from Mexico, horribly expensive, but oh so yummy. There is a very good assortment of dried fruits and nuts, too.

The first time you buy a bottle of this olive or noix (walnut) oil, you pay an additional €1.00. When your bottle is empty, bring it back for a refill and pay only for the oil. These new potatoes look delicious, don't they?! These are more of the délicatesse grenaille I used in my recent easy new potato and green bean salad recipe post. These concombres are of the European variety. The seeds are almost non-existant and you have all the flavor of cucumber without the burp! These artichauts look like a watercolor painting.

Purple aubergines rondes (round eggplants) and courgettes rondes (round zucchini) are great for stuffing. These fresh basil plants tempted me, but I have two balcony basil plants already so I resisted. French ail (garlic) violet and rose varieties are so good and have so much more flavor than the garlic I grew up using, I can't hardly use anything else anymore. 

Laitue (lettuce – the red leaf is my favorite), gorgeous radis cerises (cherry radishes), radis de 18 jours (in the USA this variety is called a French Breakfast radish) and tomates grappes. Just an aside...I have never seen any French person eating radishes for breakfast, so where that name comes from I have no idea.

Cheese please! You can't have a French food shop without cheese.The ones wrapped up like candy are aptly called bouchons (corks). They're dry, hard cheeses, full of flavor and can be made with either goat or cow's milk. To learn more about French cheese, see my Cheese in France post

Vegetarians can skip this bit. These Bresse chickens are France's best and most expensive, depending on the size one could set you back about $50.00, or more. Poulet de Bresse have what is called an appellation d'origine contrôlée status. This means only corn fed chickens from the white plumed Bresse breed, raised in a legally defined area of  the former French province of Bresse can be called Poulet de Bresse. The poulet noir de Bourgogne is another chef's favorite. These black plumed chickens are raised free-range. The dried sausages are cut to your request and sold by weight.

And of course there are eggs, which I think deserves a note here. In France, eggs are not sold refrigerated in stores. Why is this? It goes back to how they're produced. In the USA, the cuticle – the egg's outer protective layer – is washed away. Without that cuticle, eggs have to be refrigerated to prevent salmonella bacteria forming in the egg. In France (all of Europe for that matter), washing eggs is illegal, so farmers vaccinate their chickens against salmonella. With this cuticle intact, refrigeration could actually cause contamination via mildew. 

There's a traiteur section here, too, with all sorts of take home goodies, as well as packaged sweets for dessert.

Et voila! Just a sample of the goodies we came home with!


  1. You. Are. Making. Me. Hungry. Well, except when I look at those chicken. I'm not a vegetarian/vegan but those chicken still have the feet on them...and is that a head I see?!?! Nope. *quickly walks the other way* (: I thoroughly enjoyed this walk through the market, Shani! Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Oh how I miss the French markets. I have had the best cantaloupes and white peaches from markets in France. Oh, and walnut oil too!


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