The local weekly markets offer a cornucopia of delights, especially in the grape harvest season (or vendange), which begins in September. (Truffle season begins in November!) Food is woven into the everyday fabric of life in Provence. The soil is rich, the sun is warm and there is an abundance of good things to eat. The range of fragrant herbs one will encounter in the wild is simply staggering (thyme, sage, savory, lavender, rosemary…), not to mention the figs, melons, berries, truffles, eggplant and olives that naturally thrive in the region.
Marvelously organized – tables are often filled with alternating fruits and vegetables creating a stunning aesthetic- and endlessly abundant, this market is undeniably charming. Ensconced within the walls of the centre-ville, you’re bound to find a stunning array of saucisse that’s been expertly crafted by men whose families have created these delights for generations. It’s a joy to fill your straw market basket with bright purple fresh garlic, asparagus so knobby and beautiful that it clearly came from someone’s little farm, tiny strawberries sweet as candy, and honeys that taste of the lavender and wild thyme that grow in Provence.
“ The ideal shopping basket would include two fine melons with a wonderful aroma, a few picholine olives for the aperitif, a nice fougasse to go with them, six crunchy little courgettes, a few red peppers and some juicy tomatoes for the ratatouille, a small goats’ cheese to round it all off, plus some sweet-smelling olive oil to blend everything together, some honey and jam, a bunch of asparagus, a punnet of wild strawberries and a truffle in winter.
I’m not sure any country takes chicken more seriously than France, where there are dozens of heritage breeds and where over 30 percent of the chickens consumed have been pasture-raised thanks to the Label Rouge program. This all ensures that whether your poulet rôti has been purchased straight off the spit at the market or at a Michelin-rated restaurant, the quality will likely be good.