Sunday, May 12, 2013

Grocery Shopping, French Style

You know how all the health articles tell us to shop around the outside edges of the grocery store and skip all that processed sugar and flour in the center? That is so easy in France! Just buy your food at the street markets!

Everything is so wonderful and fresh. Of course, it is spring, so that is how it should be!

Much of this stuff must come from Africa - just across the Mediterranean Sea to the south - because it is too early for it here.

Honey in every flavor that you can imagine! I love the lavender honey.

These tomatoes must be some kind of heirloom variety. They come in yellow, orange and red.

Eggs are sold by the half-dozen. The hens must be healthy because I have a hard time cracking the shells. They are really strong. Of course, they also cost $2 - $2.50 per half dozen, so they'd better be good. In Mexico, eggs are sold by the kilo or half-kilo and cost about half that price.

This is the booth that makes me drool! I try to hurry by as quickly as possible. Since my Celiac diagnosis, I haven't missed plain old white bread at all. What I miss is wonderful crusty rustic breads. Some day I will find a recipe that I can eat.

Fortunately, I have found a gluten-free multi-grain bread  that tastes fantastic with my lavender honey, but it's not quite like these.

Although I'm not tempted to eat these dried sausages, I think they are interesting to look at. I imagine that each type uses a different meat and different spices.

Since it's spring, it is asparagus season! Each market has whole long tables with these asparagus all neatly lined up like this. I guess they prefer these that haven't had sun exposure to turn them green. I bought some green ones last week, but I'll try these this week.

And, finally, if all this wonderful fresh stuff needs more flavor to suit your taste buds, there are also booths that sell spices. I like to just stand in front of the table and breathe in all these different aromas. Somehow it seems more special to buy it like this rather than in a little closed-up jar.

I can't believe I don't have a photo of the cheese booths! It is my very favorite type. Most of the cheeses seem to be made from goat milk, but they are soft and fresh rather than the dry and crumbly types more often available in the US and Mexico. Because I like strong-flavored cheeses, I prefer the kind I'm used to. But there are other cheeses to choose from, too. Quite a few are made from sheep cheese, including my all-time-favorite, pecorino. And, of course, there are also cheeses made from cow's milk. Many of them are flavored with different herbs and spices that give them very interesting flavors.


  1. I just started reading your blog, wow, I'm jealous. Are you staying a month ? Or planning to live there? How did you find the apt? If I can't get there, I can see it thru your photos, thanks!

    1. Hi Christina. Welcome. I am staying two months! Last fall, I wrote about a couple who retired and just travel full time. As I wrote that post, I got to thinking about a dream I had for many years to learn a bit of French and then rent an apartment here for an extended time to perfect the language. I've tried to learn a bit of French but have decided that enjoying the experience is more important. I found my apartment through and have been very happy with the experience so far. I am an American, but I have lived in Mexico for the past nine years. I lived in Japan for six months before moving to Mexico. I retired at 50 and normally write about life as an early retiree. I plan to write about living (temporarily) in France until the end of June.

  2. I'm so glad you took off on your own to explore Provence. Enjoy!

    1. Thanks, Regina. I hope you are still enjoying Ecuador. I guess I'm a relative low-lander. I'd rather climb four flights of stairs here than walk those streets in the Andes. My lungs just work so much better at lower altitudes - even at the mile-high altitudes at home.