from ham to quail, and everything in between

This is something I’ve wanted to share since getting to Bordeaux, but it’s taken a while to get enough good pictures and whatnot. This is my absolute favorite thing about Bordeaux.

There is a market every Sunday about 3 and half minutes from my front door.

And it’s not a flea market or a tiny little farmer’s market with eight stands. It’s a full-fledged market, complete with every food item you can imagine, from produce to bread and honey, wine, chocolate, dried fruit, hot fresh food, and butchers of every sort. Just sitting and watching people go by is amazing. Around 8:30 when the market opens, there are a couple of early birds with their little wheeled shopping bags in tow, picking up their week’s shopping before the crowds descend.

Two hours later the market looks totally different.

There are couples, families, young people, old people, dogs, and children on bikes, scooters, and every other possible wheeled sort of transportation. It’s hard to walk through the crowd, and you know which vendors to go to by the size of the line that accumulates at their booth. In particular, there is always one specific produce vendor, one butcher, and one bread vendor that have huge lines. And by huge, I mean that people stand there, whether it’s sunny or pouring rain (like this morning), for ten to fifteen minutes for the opportunity to tell the vendor what they’d like and watch as the goods are carefully selected, packaged, and handed over.

the bread line…

The produce is amazing. At the farmer’s market at home, there is always a little bit of produce that looks past it’s best. I have yet to see anything look less than absolutely pristine at this market. Everything is vibrant and beautiful.

The bread stand actually interests me the most.

Not only because of the huge line, but because of the huge loaves of bread that they sell, to whom I don’t know. There are circular loaves of bread that are easily two feet in diameter. And by the end of the market, these loaves are gone. The French really do love bread.

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we bought a feast for sunday brunch: duck confit, chicken kebabs, grilled shrimp, veggies, and figs!

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I always get an apple on Sundays; there are lots of French varieties that don’t exist in the US, and it’s fun to sample a new type every week. Most of my weekly produce comes from the market, too. Today the radishes, avocados, lettuce and cucumbers all looked good, so they came home with me and were devoured in a lovely salad. At home we have salad with almost every meal, but it’s hard to make a single portion side salad, so I’ve been eating a lot of other vegetables instead. With some farmer’s ham, that salad was a lovely lunch.IMG_2461IMG_2459

Good thing I sprung for all 24 Euros worth of ham.

Cold cuts and jerky are my two favorite snacks at home, but jerky doesn’t exist in France, and every cold cut at the grocery store has wheat dextrose of wheat syrup in it. Or lactose. Dried ham (Serrano or prosciutto) are nice but tiresome. So when I saw a large, pink, Christmas-style ham at the charcuterie on Friday, I leapt for joy and asked for ten slices. HOWEVER, each slice was about 2.5 times the size of a slice at home, and about twice as thick, which is how I accidentally bought a whole kilo of sliced ham. All said and done, it was actually about the same price as good quality cold-cut ham in the US, so no harm, no foul.

Good thing I really like ham.

Another journey into the exploration of proteins in France led my friend and I to discover a lovely quail recipe, and make some roasted quail last night (with herbed garlic cauliflower puree, of course!). They were a lot of work to eat, but were pretty good. The recipe is from a blog written by a woman that lives in Medoc, which is just north of the city of Bordeaux.

After our feast, we had a bunch of leftover quail carcasses, so today I attempted to make quail stock, as gluten-free stock doesn’t seem to exist in France…

It’s perfect timing to make stock, because the weather is just starting to turn into cold, windy, rainy, fall-appropriate conditions.

quail stock in progress!

quail stock in progress!

If all goes well, we’ll have soup tonight!

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