I hope that all is well with you and yours.
Spring has at last arrived here in my bit of France. Flowers are bursting into blossom, the leaves on the trees are growing by the day and everywhere the spring events season is gearing up.
I love this time of the year for the quirky festivals (here’s my latest podcast on this very topic), as well as the brocantes – we call them flea markets in English though I’ve never seen a flea! They’re massively popular in France, a chance for some to get rid of their clutter – from tat to treasure, and for others to pick up a bargain. Over the years I’ve bought all sorts of things including a 100-year-old typewriter (who can remember the days before the internet and computers?!), old bread baking baskets and butter pats, and even a crazy cockerel. Brocantes are also about street food, a chance to taste the local specialities, and in the north of France where I live, pork is nearly always on the menu.
My favourite memory of street food is of a local event where a rotund, red-faced chef with a twirly moustache presided over a hog roast and wielded a long knife like the musketeer d’Artagnan as he carved slices and thwacked them onto plates, to which his two assistants piled a wodge of steaming hot frites and a brioche bun. There’s always an array of exotic-sounding sauces, including Samurai (which, despite its name, is from Belgium and traditionally served with frites), or Biggy Burger Sauce (also from Belgium), which is a sort of garlicky pickle, as well as Ch’Biloute, a local favourite that is easier to eat than pronounce.
I stood entranced watching the chef as he helped himself to a slice or two, munching with piggish abandon. Behind him, in a van, was the fattest dog you’ve ever seen in your life, hanging out of the window, drool dangling from his open mouth as he watched his master serve the happy punters, knowing he would get the remains later.
Sometimes the best events are the simple ones where people really enjoy themselves and you just get caught up in the moment!
There’s tons of inspiration on the website to enjoy France at its best and most authentic – click the newsletter link for this weeks top picks
Meanwhile, a very Happy Easter to you and yours,
Bisous from my little corner of France,
Ps For subscribers based in the UK – don’t forget to get your free tickets for the Prestige Property & Lifestyle Show in April in Derby – see you there! More about the show below…
Janine Marsh is Author of My Good Life in France: In Pursuit of the Rural Dream, My Four Seasons in France: A Year of the Good Life and Toujours la France: Living the Dream in Rural France all available as ebook, print & audio, on Amazon everywhere & all good bookshops online.
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