It’s springtime in France, and even at the largest supermarkets the produce is fresh! So fresh, so ripe, that everything must be eaten within days or it spoils. The strawberries, especially those produced locally, have been as sweet as candy! Delicious tomatoes, artichokes, eggplants, greens, asparagus, radishes, herbs… We’ve treated ourselves to plentiful salads for lunch accompanied by dried sausages, cheeses, and the ever reliant, crisp-yet-chewy baguette. Delish! Affordable! We had worried about the increased cost of food in Europe, yet we’ve found perimeter shopping in grocery stores and street market shopping during market days to be healthy and very affordable. Bread, dairy, and wine are downright cheap. Bread is always fresh. There are aisles of puddings, cheeses, and custards. Wine is plentiful and bottles priced in the 3-6 euro range are actually worth drinking (unlike their stateside cousin 3-buck-Chuck). So while we feel as though we are indulging, we are merely taking advantage of the season and those products that are readily available. We’re learning what foods are reasonably priced due to our location/region, such as olive oil, so that we can stock up on those items. Of course when the opportunity presents we do try foods that are less available at stateside grocery stores such as rabbit, pate, or escargot. With the help of our refrigerator (a luxury Rode Trip did not possess) we have been able to plan ahead when we find good grocery stops.
At Avignon, the street market keeps a daily schedule. Each morning, Les Halles is open for business. But make haste because as soon as the lunch bell rings, the gates close! Les Halles is an indoor, fresh food market. Here you will find the boucher (butcher) and the boulangerie (bakery). Vendors bring the freshest legumes (vegatables) and fruits (fruits) of the season. If interested in fruits de mer (seafood), the catch of the day is here. Strong scents from epices (spices) and fromages (cheeses) fill the air. Bring shopping bags and baskets to fill to the brim!