Today was a beautiful day in the Languedoc. Sunny, warm at 18C this afternoon and with an absence of wind. It was perfect for a cycle along the beach, with a coffee stop at a beach cafe of course!
After returning from our ride, TC and I headed out to buy food for dinner. Our intention was to walk up to the local supermarket (about 500m or so from the centre of the village) and browse while we thought about what to have. Once we hit the village square though, my feet just wouldn’t take me to the supermarket.
“No,” I said to TC, “lets just get our bits & pieces from here in the village centre from the small shops?” and that’s exactly what we did.
First stop was the boucherie. I love going into this shop. It is bright, sparkling clean, and has that lovely meat smell that comes from a combination of all the fresh meat in the counters combined with the dried sausages & other pre-cooked foods along the top of the counter. Mmm, delicious. (I must chat with Monsieur le Bouchere and ask him if I can take some photos for a blog entry) We decided on some lamb leg chops to go in a casserole of some kind, with vegetables & a nice potato mash.
Next stop was the Spar (a type of mini mart, well stocked too) for a bottle of nice local wine (for drinking) and a plastic, fill-it-up-yourself-from-the-large-vat-in-the-corner, 1.20€ per litre wine (for cooking). I know that you are supposed to only cook with wine that you would also drink so we tried it and I have to say, for the price, its actually quite drinkable too, parfait!
Then is was on to the fruit & vege shop where we selected some sweet potato, potatoes for the mash, some mushrooms and some lovely small eschalion to go in the pot. Throwing in some fresh fruit for tomorrow’s petite dejeuner (breakfast) and we were off to the next stop.
As Stephane over at My French Heaven stated the other day: “In every French city, there is at least one exceptional pastry chef and one very good baker (bread maker)” Oh how right he is!
We called into ours and left with a lovely looking green item simply called “figue” for TC and a simple “tarte de fruits” for me. Something tells me we’ll cut them in half and share both anyway, we usually do.
Heading back for home, our last stop was our favourite boulangerie. And yes, Stephane is still correct, our closest boulangere is the best baker in town. We know this because a) we have sampled most of them now and also b) by the patient queue that usually stretches well out of the door on market mornings. It is a small, husband & wife operation, but wow, the bread is fresh and delicious. We often have a little wait of a minute or two for the freshest baguettes he pulls right out of the oven, which are then almost too hot to carry home. Now that is fresh!
Loaded up with our bounty we then headed home again. We walked no more than about 300m in total from our home to all of the shops, but the best part? That was chatting with each individual business owner and knowing that we are, even in a small way, contributing to the livelihood of the other villagers. Some of them know our faces now and have a little chat or banter when we come in – for example Madame la Boulangere… upon spying the delicately wrapped pâtisserie box in my hands, cried “Oh c’est pour MOI???” with a big grin on her face. I told her “peut-etre demaine”, it’s simply too good to give away!
(The photo of our village church is not mine but is reproduced courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)