WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHY: AM
One of our main goals when going on holiday is to experience life as a local and nothing achieves this quite like shopping at the local markets. It lets us savour the flavours of local life. We love renting a space with a decent kitchen and descending on the open air markets, living like the locals, cooking like the locals and experiencing their food at a grass roots level, this way we can fully appreciate the country / region we are staying in. By shopping at the markets we are also directly supporting the local economy, we are automatically buying in season and frankly what better way to while away the mornings than by interacting with the locals, being inspired by the delights for sale, planning the perfect lunch or dinner based on the products before you.
No country does markets quite like France and this is of course one of the many reasons we adore France. The sheer onslaught of the senses, the sights, the smells, the sounds, the bustle and the hustle. We were of course amateurs with our rattanbags, what we should have had was one of those delightful granny trolleys - purely for practical reasons of course.
We always make a beeline for the producers, not the traders, the traders are easy to spot with their pineapples whilst the producers have their tables laden with their local and regional wares. Beans, tomatoes, aubergines, zucchinis with their flowers still attached, delicious truffle salami, heavenly local grapes, homemade pain d'epices, local cheese, aged Comté, pears, apples, the last of the peaches, delightful figs, Mont d'Or, melon, artisanal bread and local honey, all found their way one by one into our bags - a divine feast to be enjoyed with our nearest and dearest.
Lyon has plenty of markets six days a week and the one on Boulevard de la Croix-Rousse is a must on Saturday mornings however the market at Quai St Antoine is our personal favourite, especially getting there early before the crowds. Into the basket went seafood, chanterelles, walnut oil, sweet plums, slightly more tart damsons, fresh pasta, local wine, intense herbs, more cheese and local eggs. We engaged with the charming producers, smiles and laughter all around. Last but not least we found a little more space for some quince cheese and apple & quince juice. Dinner that night was the most delicious mussels with fresh pasta in a rich fresh tomato sauce and basil - the best we have ever had and all produced locally and purchased from the market.
Later on in the week and for an altogether more boutique gastronomic market experience we headed over to Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse, which is more in line with Harrods food hall in London for example. With divine Saint-Marcellin cheese and Saint-Marcellin Truffé from Maison Cellerier, serrano hams from Bellota Bellota so good they named it twice, artisanal chocolates galore side by side the most exquisite looking cakes, caviar from Petrossian, oysters from Chez Léon and macaroons from Richart, this is of course a more refined experience and whilst every now and then we love an upscale boutique experience, the attention to detail and the finesse, in our daily life our hearts lie with the markets in the Quais - which for us are much more grounded, down to earth and more reflective of our true selves.