Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Sunday is market day in the pretty medieval village of St Antonin which is about 13 km from us. It is a fantastic market and it has become something of a tradition to get up early and head off for breakfast at the cafe in the main square. From this vantage point you can see and be seen and enjoy the atmosphere which is bustling to say the least.
Under the Halle activity is intense. In August it becomes quite manic with crowds of visitors eager to take part in the excitement. The village is crammed with good things to eat and the piles of jewel toned courgettes, peppers, tomatoes and aubergines beg you to buy and cook, whilst all around are heaps of cheeses, sausage, hams and other goodies to feed your imagination and make your tummy rumble.
The aligot man sells his speciality of smooth mashed potato enriched with cheese. You can tell if the aligot is good by how stretchy it is and he lifts it high in the air so that strings of cheese and potato hang enticingly from the spoon in fragrant loops. The smell of warm cheesy potato drifts enticingly across the square mingling with the scent from the hot roast chicken van. The tiny, blood red Mara des Bois strawberries are piled high on another stall and release a sweet and long forgotten summer sweetness.
With all this wonderful produce cooking is an essential activity although making chutney on the day it managed to reach 40 degrees was probably a mistake. I was as crimson as the plums which went into the spicy concoction! However the chocolate and blackberry mousse, green apple and goats' cheese couscous and chilled leek and potato soup have all gone down well this week. I hope the photos make your mouth water.