A Gold Medal Farmers Market Picnic in France

​Dear France,

For picnics you receive a gold medal, yes well done you’ve done it. And we can even look past that nasty event involving the pig stomach sausage (thank-you French host family ’08, you nailed that entrée), just make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Now let’s talk bread, it was goodbye ubiquitous baguette and bonjour rustic wad of spelt bread from the young local baker. Well worth it, the ancient grains are seeing an uprising and the nuttiness is complementing those French cheeses very well. The bread was in the bag from the start.

To the slightly shriveled Granny and Grandpas of the olive world, the semi-dried kalamatas sure pack a salty punch, but gee what a bang of flavour to the old taste buds. It was out of retirement and straight into the picnic basket with those old guys.

A green olive tapenade alongside made for easy spreading on bread and everyone knows that any picnic worth its blanket needs a spreadable dip. That makes it two points to the olive contingent, fine work indeed.

Tomatoes were an excellent choice for additional freshness, the green and red colour scheme working particularly well atop the chopping board. Very pleasing on the eye.

Holy cheeses! A soft creamy white goats cheese plucked from a tray and wrapped carefully in paper shone like a star, the three Billy Goat’s Gruff would be bloody proud. A bonus point to this tiny cheese stall and it’s friendly sellers for looking so typically French that I nearly grew an instantaneous moustache and beret.

For the meaty eaters, a dried chorizo sausage of pork. Shriveled and tied at the ends with string. I can’t personally say but guaging from the general consensus it seemed a true oinker. This little piggy went to market and came home in a picnic basket.

Now one small issue re. temperature of the beer. Points for local brewery brilliance and taste. Minus points for lack of cold. The driver of the picnicking vehicle was particularly disappointed and everyone knows that if you were to place the happiness-of-driver and ideal-picnic-location on a linear scale that disappointment over warm beer may lead to a picnic back at your house on the lounge room floor (because at least there’s a fridge nearby) Solution: buy more of the exact same beer at a nearby bar from their fridge. Genius – double the beer plus a happy driver. 

Of course fruits make it easy to extend the picking of the picnic as you can nick and pick to your heart’s content. The seasons grape bunch were plumper than Aunt Gloria and juicier than Beyoncés booty. A well rounded specimen, we liked it so much that we put a ring on it and took a second bunch.

Yes France, these farmers markets you have popping out of your ears have really given merit to your fantastic regional produce.

Congratulations, it’s been an olympic effort, stomachs are pleasantly full, the lake has been pleasantly swum and now someone is calling for ice cream, pleasant all round. Miam miam!

For just two of the great local produce markets in the La Creuse area of France try….

Felletin Farmers Market: every Friday, a large market winding through streets from one main square. Great cheese stalls, breads, fruit and veg, cured meats, yoghurt, bio (organic) produce, jewellery, clothes, textiles, range of knick-knack stalls.

Boussac Local Produce Market: this open air market is on every Thursday. The amount of stalls increase heavily during the summer months. Fresh produce, meats, cheese, bread, seafood, textiles, clothes.

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