Gourmet Heaven

Markets in France are such a feast for the senses. The stall holders seem to have an amazing knack of making the most simple of produce look incredibly beautiful and tempting. I think it is the combination of the rustic baskets and boxes, as well as displaying wares en masse that creates such an impact.

We’re just back from a week in south-west France and managed to fit in a couple of visits to the local markets of Duras and Monségur. Both are wonderfully atmospheric medieval towns, which provide gorgeous backdrops for the stalls, which groan under the weight of seasonal produce.

The apricots and salamis on offer were irresistible, as were the tomatoes, melons and cherries. We ate the latter for lunch with a fresh baguette and the softest, snowiest goat’s cheese. Simple but so tasty.

Since our last visit to the area two years ago, weekly ‘marchés nocturnes’, or ‘night markets’ have sprung up in the local towns during the summer months. Tables and chairs are set up in the squares for dining, and visitors are spoilt for choice by the host of food and drink stalls which serve everything from steak frites, moules, escargots and roast pork, to ice cream, churros and crêpes. Toy stalls and a bouncy castle keep the children entertained, whilst adults can browse various gift stalls or while away the evening in one of the bars. It was a highlight of the week for all of us as we indulged ourselves in whatever took our fancy; the ultimate take-away dining experience!

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