Marché des Producteurs

bacon

I was actually thrilled to see a market of producteurs that was happening this weekend in Paris. We have some great food available in Paris but I don’t get the opportunity often to meet and shop directly from the people who are producing the food. This is especially true with meat, which is sold by butchers and not the people who raise it, but I also wanted to see some of the more interesting roots and vegetables that don’t always find their way in to Paris from the countryside.

Generally speaking, a lot of these tasting salons that are held around the year in Paris are well-stocked with three things: foie gras, mountain cheeses, and sausages. Wine doesn’t count as one of the three, as that’s a given.

raw milk butter thyme

There are lots of people offering tastes of wine. It’s one of the few things where samples of it at markets are gladly given. I remember a few years ago at a wine fair I told the seller that I’d take a bottle of his Muscadet, since I was having oysters that night, and he was rather shocked that I didn’t want to try it first. (So I did, just to be polite.) But I’m actually happier sitting in a café and enjoying a glass rather than manoeuvering around other people en masse, Costco-style, jostling for a little sip.

escargots

My friend pointed out to me that almost all the other shoppers at the Marché de Producteurs were older people, a vast majority were people in their 60s or later. A rather interesting observation. Another thing we observed was lots of honey. I love honey and often when I have out-of-town guests, I implore them to buy some of the unusual honeys available in France, but they don’t seem as excited as I am. I attribute that to the prevalence of supermarket honey they’re used to and I practically force people to try something like chestnut honey, which is brusque and bitter. And most who try it eventually fall for it, too.

French cheese cheese in Paris

Although there were no shortage of honey producers, the stand that drew me in was one manned by a lovely woman with wild red hair. She gave a sample to my friend first, who was a woman, which she said was “polite”. I said that was “sexiste” and she rightly agreed. So from then on she alternated handing off samples to us.

She freely gave us tastes of all her honeys: bourdaine (alder), bruyère (heather), chestnut, sunflower (tasty, but quite sweet) and tilleuil (linden), which had a bit of a minty aftertaste. They were all fantastic and even through I was just planning on buying a small jar of one, I ended up with three bigger ones.

miel

There was only one vegetable vendor and I showed him the wilted kale leaf that I bought back from Switzerland, which looked a little sad after over a week in my refrigerator, and my friend and I both got even sadder when he confirmed what most expats have known for a while: There’s no kale in France. He said “In Holland, there’s lots of it!” That’s the French for ya, always looking for the silver lining.

I was hoping he’d take a cue (and the leaf) and find some seeds and plant some, as I asked the producteur at my local market if he wanted to do, but no one seemed too interested. So I am hereby ceasing all searches for kale as of today. However if someone wants to start up a farm near Paris, let me know and I’ll promptly get it all sold for you. And you can put me down for the first ten kilos.

There was a man steaming fresh snails (no thanks, there’s a reason they’re serve them drowned in butter and garlic), a woman selling dried tangles of aromatic herbal remedies and infusions (who was swigging from a plastic liter bottle of Coke), patrially-dried prunes from Agen, wine, pains d’épices flavored with everything from sour cherries to chocolate, wine, fresh grape juice, wine, and plenty of meat.

faisselle de chevre chevre faisselle with honey

Faisselle is something that doesn’t exist in America. It’s curdled milk that’s drained and I picked up two containers of it made with goat’s milk. I asked if they had any fresh goat’s milk, which has become another “kale” (or customer service) in its Parisian elusiveness, which I keep thinking would make a great ice cream with some poached figs, but it was a no-go.

I’m sure other countries have cheeses similar to faisselle, but I’m not sure as it may not be something that has global appeal. This was pretty goaty and almost was fizzy and made me pause for a second when I slid a slithery spoonful in my mouth. Even a generous spoonful of bourdain honey didn’t tame it much. Still, I liked it all the same although it’s not for everyone.

rocamadour goat cheese

The same vendor had wooden crates lined up with silver dollar-sized cushy disks of Rocamadour cheese. Although an AOC cheese, meaning that their production is controlled to ensure certain standards, like Saint Marcellin, there are ordinary Rocamadours and excellent Rocamadours. Since the great ones have the same calories as the not-so-great ones, call me crazy, but I opt for the great ones. And these were really great. At €1 each, I thought I’d splurge and buy two.

I also saw some immense wheels of Raclette cheese, which I was tempted to buy after my recent sojurn to the land of Raclette. But I passed in favor of stocking up on small containers of yogurt de brebis, which a fellow nearby was selling for just 60 cents each. Most of them, I noticed, were pretty liquidy. Of course, when I pointed it out, he said “C’est normale!”—so I bought the six that I asked for anyways. So now I have six containers mostly of sheep’s milk whey. If anyone has any recipes that use six half-cups of sheep’s milk whey, I up to my ears in whey.

raclette lait d'ânesse

What did cause a fuss was the stand selling lait d’ânesse, or everyone’s favorite…donkey milk. Okay, they’re weren’t selling the fresh milk itself so you don’t have to worry about finding a Donkey Milk Ice Cream recipe on the site (although I did try horse milk, once) but there were selling soaps and beauty products made from this supposed magical elixir of the

The stand was packed with women checking out the creams, lotions, and soaps. I guess I should have bought one just to see if it really was amazing, but the picture of the donkey being milked wasn’t exactly making me want to rub it all over my body.

medlars

In addition to an overload of sheep’s milk whey, does anyone out there ever use nefles (medlars)? The first time I saw them, they were hanging from a tree in the countryside and Romain said that someone made something from them and it tasted like—well, let me put it this way, I won’t repeat what he said, but it wasn’t something you want to think about when you’re putting food in to your mouth. So I didn’t buy any on impulse because after a certain someone’s description, I was pretty much turned off from giving them a try.

beurre cru butter

My biggest impulse purchase was an oval of raw milk salted butter, which I bought just because. I have a few slabs of butter in my refrigerator already but even through the frosty window of the little refrigerated case, and the brilliant yellow-colored butter radiating out from underneath the wax wrapper, I knew it would be absolutely terrific. I’ll let you know tomorrow morning, after I’ve finished it off for breakfast.



Related Links and Posts

Marchés des Producteurs (List of producers markets in France)

Pari Fermier

Faisselle Recipe (Tartlette)

Homemade Cottage Cheese

Goat Milk Faisselle with Chives (Chocolate & Zucchini)

Barbès Market

Honey, Made in Paris

How to Find Foods and Other Items Mentioned on the Site

Brie de Meaux

Les Tomates

79 comments

  • Le beurre cru est superbe~

  • If you enjoy those kind of events where you can taste and meet the producteurs directly, maybe you should consider coming down in the south and check out the SISQA in Toulouse, which is a sort of a Salon de l’Agriculture but for products and specialties from the Southwest region.
    You could check out a “gateau a la broche” too, which I haven’t found being mentionned on your blog yet ;)

  • I did not know the English name for Mespilus germanica which you named as medlar :)
    If you eat firm fruits then I can imagine the experience one can have. The medlar fruits are eatable when they are very, very soft and dark brown, similar to persimmon fruit. The taste is special.
    Unfortunately, the western consumers are looking for “ready to eat food” or the most to preheat it in microwave.

  • Fidanka: I’ve read they are supposed to be eaten only after the frost, so that might have happened. I do find them lovely. In France, interestingly, they call them nefle which is the same name they give to loquats.

    Monique: I’m anxious to try it! It smells a little cheesy, but the color is really amazing.

    balsa: I love Toulouse and sounds great. It’d be interesting if they ever did a salon with things only local to the Île de France, around Paris. Nice for all the regions to celebrate what’s specific, and special, to them.

  • How wonderful – I would love to be strolling through that market, choosing a little of this and a lot of that (foie gras, chestnut honey, burre) to bring home.

  • oops! j’suis desole: I meant beurre, please do tell how it is — it looks splendid!

  • Medlars must be bletted before being eaten if they’re to be eaten raw. I’ve never had them (or even seen them) but the decay combined with their somewhat suggestive open-at-the-top shape has apparently led to a lot of literary innuendo (see: ). All the descriptions I’ve seen of the post-bletting flavor have made them sound kind of good, to be honest, though I don’t know how I’d like the texture.

    I believe they’re high in pectin and can be used (prior to bletting) to make jelly and such.

  • Beautiful photos!

  • There’s curd (faisselle) in Italy , it is called cagliata. All around Balkans it is called “skuta” – it is not so widely used any more, but it is possible to buy it on the green market.

  • I think I would’ve bought the butter but then been too afraid to eat it with how lovely you make it look. I would’ve wound up trying to frame it instead, I’m afraid.

  • I once bought some excellent medlars jam at Fortnum & Mason. I wouldn’t know how to make it myself, but it was very good.

  • David,
    That butter looks so beautiful! I am sad to know there aren’t more producteurs in the city. If you are ever interested in coming to the western suburbs I would be happy to show you around our farmers’ market. I am fond of my produce lady, poultry guy, and raw milk guy….and fish and bread men. :)

  • The Raclette you didn’t buy…looks unlike the Raclette sold here in the states. In fact,
    here it is always completely smooth, none of the interesting holes/texture as they appear in the samples of your photograph. Wondering how this might have an impact on its flavor and what the difference would be.

    Yes, I do recall once having chestnut honey, it was a gift from a hotel we stayed at in Joigny and it was special. I, too love searching out unusual honey flavors and always have several varieties around.

  • What an awesome experience…. OK- so first for the kale (one of my all time favorite greens)- Do you have a balcony? Growing kale is easy- it’s one of those idiot proof greens- throw down the seeds, add a tiny bit of water (although it rains enough in the winter in Paris you don’t even have to do that) and pick them when you like what size they are. I can mail you some or bring them myself when I come to Paris in December.
    Secondly- what about making biscuits with the sheep’s milk? I make ‘buttermilk’ biscuits all the time, and just throw in yogurt, buttermilk, sour milk= whatever I’ve got- they always taste great and are really flakey…I could give you a recipe- but mine’s gluten-free. :)

  • Snails are delicious. Tut tut.

  • So David, how do we find those Marché de Producteurs? Are they scheduled regularly? It looks like a wonderful day. And what great pictures.

  • Ugh… the color of that butter is like the sun itself – amazing!

  • When I saw the photo of the medlars I thought they looked like rose hips. Turns out the medlar tree is a member of the rose family. The description of letting them rot in order to render them edible seems unappetizing.

  • I just adore these market posts of yours, David. They fill me with so much bittersweet longing, and the photos make me almost believe I can taste the cheese/honey/butter/fruit/bread goodness. Thank you.

  • I just had to say that I am terribly amused by the thought of buying kale by the kilo! Still grinning about that… :-)

  • The medlar looks similar to a persimmon. I know that American wild persimmons are only good if they have already fallen or are shaken from the tree and look as though they have split open – they won’t last to market. If the are picked they usually haven’t ripened and aren’t good. A ripe persimmon is like candy – incredibly sweet. A few weeks ago I tried making wild persimmon ice cream. I learned that you don’t get juice from a persimmon, only a thick, sticky pulp which is easier to clean up by scraping & wiping than with soap & water. It made a good ice cream but was much effort.

  • I agree with you, David, about the honeys in France. Each visit I load my suitcase with them because I adore them. So many interesting varieties I can’t get at home. I love chestnut, Tilleuil and Foret specifically. And i love enjoying it all year as makes me think of lovely memories of travel when I enjoying my morning toast. So underrated as a souvenir I think.

  • The raw milk salted butter looks amazing. I wouldn’t even put it into anything; I’d just have it on toast, alone. Maybe toasted, maybe not. Then two hours later I’d make some brown butter gnocchi with it. And then for dinner I’ll just have butter and bread again… maybe this time with some cheese.

    IT’S BUTTER DAY!

  • I’m a huge fan of honey. Especially local honey. Here in Seattle, we get several kinds, but my favorite is the blackberry honey. Yum.

    As for your sheep milk…

    2 cups flour
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp cinnamon
    2 cups milk <- here's where the sheep's milk comes in
    2 tbsp oil
    And I throw in a bit of vanilla

    Some of the best pancakes you'll have! And coincidentally, you might even see this note before breakfast in the morning. :D

  • You are so funny about the kale! We had so much kale in our csa box last year that we couldn’t even look at it after a while. I guess it’s like anything, you take it for granted when you can have it all the time. But blettes are a good alternative, don’t you think?

    My beau pere has a neflier in his yard and I love them! I don’t really want to know what you were going to say about them, but I think they are like a lovely combination between a plum and an apricot.

    And I love chestnut honey, my beau pere is also an apiculteur and they send us chestnut honey quite often. We have to ration it so it lasts longer. It’s so flavourful, it makes our Canadian clover honey taste like sugar.

  • How about using the whey in place of water in some bread? You can schmear that lovely butter all over it after it comes out of the oven.

  • oo what lovely cheeses, honeys, and butter! i am still getting used to the idea that butter is yellow (sad isn’t it?). once i realized margerine was yellow, and margerine was bad (it is definitely bad), i started going for white butter, thinking that was its natural color. wrong!

    mm enjoy the market. let us know what you do with your findings.

  • Loved your post once again. Living in another world through your words!

  • The medlars should be eaten after frost, overripe, and cooked, in a jam, for example.

  • thank you for this wonderful market trip. I am a big fan of honey, on our last trip to Macedonia (FYROM) I ended up buying 3 huge mayonnaise jars of honey from a man who lived without electricity at the base of Mount Korab (highest peak in the country). His shack was literally sitting on the beehives. Anyway, bit tricky to get that and all the other jams and goodies I ended up buying through passport control.

  • David, that butter looks amazing! It’s almost too pretty to eat…..well almost anyway. As far as the whey you could use it to make Ricotone, which is just Ricotta cheese made from a combination of milk and whey. I bet it would be very yummy from your sheep’s milk whey. You could make some gnocchi with it, not very French but still good.

  • Faisselle+chopped spring onions+sea salt+piment d’esplette=the best dang onion dip/tartine around. Love the stuff.
    I’m with Joelle–if you’re ever out in the Western ‘burbs, there are still some producteurs at the market, and they’re also very sweet. No kale, though.
    We were in Germany over Toussaint, and the market there had kale in all colors and varieties. I had to talk myself down from the idea of dumping out my suitcase and filling it with kale.

  • Sounds like you had a great day out, love the sound of the raw milk salted butter. Is that a lot different from normal butter?

  • Off to my weekly market of procuteurs, here in Rome. I don’t think you and Judy made it to the Saturday/Sunday farmers market on Via San Teordoro? It’s run by farmers, so it’s a great chance to get to know the producteurs. In fact, I’m going to try to convince one of them to ‘produce’ a whole turkey for me, last minute. Wish me luck!

  • Might be able to help with kale issue. Hopeful I can be a supplier for you, maybe year round. I am completely in agreement on how wonderful it is. Amazingly good stuff with so many uses… either finely chopped & raw in salads or tossed Into to soups at last minute or so to keep green colour— the list goes on. I grow it in my Normandy potager biologique year round and should have some red kale growing now (or did last month–hope it is still okay). If so can bring some for you after thanksgiving visit next week. Also can bring you bags of organic kale when I visit Cambridge in mid January. I always bring it back in quantity for us here, and put in smaller bags, then in freezer. Don’t know why can’t get it here. Live v near marche raspail but zero.

  • Hi David,

    Being dutch I can confirm about the kale. However it seems to be grown as France but only as cattle food.
    Germans also eat curd, where they call it “Hüttenkäse”
    And lastly, I just tasted some oak honey which I can also advice you to try.

  • no but seriously, can we please talk about this kale issue? I really really do not understand the absence of this crucial vegetable in France. what’s more: in Germany, there is grunkohl, kale which has been chopped up, slightly salted and packed into cans or jars (to be served with sausage). I’ve never seen it in its natural state in Germany either.

  • I am an Italian living in the Netherlands: in a shop I was offered some discounted kale (boerenkool), I declined as I had no idea what it was. Then I learnt you can make a delicious stamppot* with…
    * a dish made with mashed potatoes and other vegetables

  • David, there is a place in Tasmania that sells a vanilla flavoured liqueur made from sheep whey. Supposed to be very nice. No idea how you would go about making a liqueur though!

  • I went to this market yesterday, and am probably most excited about the sanglier I bought to make a civet sometime this week. The vin chaud at the end was good, too. :) I’m pretty sure I’ve seen goat’s milk at Naturalia, but it’s super expensive.

  • Joelle + Maria: Well, hopefully that will change as folks become more conscious of the effects of shipping things from long distances are vs having them grown by regional farms.

    Kristin: I like les blettes fine enough, but they’re rather soft-textured when cooked and I miss the firm chew and strength of kale, which is great oven-roasted as well.

    castor-de-luxe + eelco: I was told that kale is too bitter for the French palate, which is odd because I see frisée and Belgian endive at the markets regularly. But it may have something to do with the texture of kale, since it’s toothsome and firm even when cooked, and people seem to like soft-textured foods rather than ones that are most toothsome here. Quite a few people order their baguettes pas trop cuite (not too cooked) at the bakeries, which used to surprise me. Who wants a soft baguette?

    Carol: Yes, tell us when you want to make a delivery. You should set up a stand in Paris! : )

    Elizabeth: One year we ordered a whole turkey from a butcher and it was around €200 (!) But folks here just order them from the poultry folks at the market and the bonus is that you can get them to cook them for you since they have the rotisserie going already. Frees up that tiny European oven!

    hkatt: I linked a few times in the post to the site where the Marchés des Producteurs in France are all listed.

  • I want that butter like you can’t imagine! Mmmmm. Where is this market and is it still open today :P

    I got lost yesterday in central Paris (I know my 5th/6th/12th arrondissments but cross the seine and I am insta-lost) and found G. Detou or however it is written. Mmm, he may have everything, but mostly chocolate! Seemed delicious. However I was looking for curtains, not chocolate… but I may be back in the near future ;)

  • David, there’s a producteur at the small Port Royal market who sells what he calls Dutch cabbage. Could it be kale? It certainly looks like it. They had some yesterday, you might want to check it out. I recall they come twice a week but can’t remember if it’s Tuesdays or Thursdays.

  • There was a French honey seller at the NY Chocolate show and I regrete not buying any – they had three kinds of honey, one from Brittany, one from Normandy and one from ‘France’! I asked about the ‘France’ honey and they said those bees flew all over France rather than being restricted to just one region?!
    Very interesting…wish I’d bought some…next time I will!

  • My loss….I saw your Tweet earlier in the week about Marché des Producteurs and even planned to go yesterday. Alas, I didn’t make it and kicking myself at the thought of buerre cru + poitrine salée + wheels of raclette cheeses +…+…+…*sigh* Next time, but thanks for the advice about la dinde. Noël approaches, and so does the thought of a bird to serve – certainly not the €200 variety…

  • I’ve just made medlar jelly this week, following a recipe by Sarah Raven. She says a mixture of bletted and hard fruits is best, so that’s what I did. The jelly has a lovely delicate taste, which I think would work well with roast lamb. I’m making another batch today, there are so many medlars in the French countryside it’s be a waste not to…

  • Once again, I am a day late and a dollar short – we arrive in Paris on Tuesday. This would have been so wonderful to attend… Thanks for sharing it with all of us!

  • There are so many medlars in Turkey , we call them as ‘ Muşmula ‘. If you eat ‘muşmula’ when not ripined enough , it makes your mouth ‘s taste so sour that you squit and crunch up your face . We have an expression ( methaphor ) coming from eating raw musmula ; ” musmula face ” . I love its taste..Thanks a lot for your sharing

  • Thinking about Daniel’s pancake recipe…no eggs? Thanks for this post, David, there are so many reasons to be thankful we live in France, most of them delicious ones!

  • When I saw the picture of the Faiselle I thought it was Greek yogurt – one of my new favorites this year. Especially with walnuts, and, if I really want to go crazy – a couple chopped dates. I get this organic honey from Whole Foods called Christmas Honey made in Hawaii – it’s pricey but very good.

    My husband started using goat milk in his tea because an organic farmer told him he’s less likely to have problems with congestion in his lungs – something he seems to be left with for a couple months at a stretch after a cold. I don’t care for it. I like Chevre now an then with herbs spread on crackers – but I just can’t get used to the “goaty” taste in my tea. I’ll stick with my organic 2 percent milk, thank you very much.

    Thanks for the beautiful pictures and your narrative. Makes me want to go to a Farmer’s Market around here. Very limited but there are two of them a week in the entire Las Vegas valley.

  • I tasted chestnut honey for the first time this week. Nutty, a little bitter and absolutely delicious!

    Great photos! A question: do you ask permission before you snap away? I always feel too shy and conspicuous to take any. Does a simple “je peux” before clicking away help? I’m a little wanting in the spoken French department. Thanks!

  • Oh, the nefles! Also in Italian we use the same name used for loquats, nespole. It took me ages to realize they are completely unrelated fruits. My grandfather grew them in his garden, but I never bought them at the market. I used to love them. They are to be eaten when very soft and they remind me slightly of an overripe pear. ‘With time and straw even medlars ripen’ is a typical Italian idiom which means that if you are patient, you will get your reward. My grandfather did not use straw actually, but just cardboard boxes left in a dry and cool (not cold) place

    I never understood the particulars of every population about vegetables. In Italy for instance it is nearly impossible to find rhubarb. In the UK I never saw a fresh artichoke or a good sized chard (ok, outside London). No kale in France, how come? In Germany it is everywhere!

  • Curry: I generally take pictures without asking only if I get the sense that they are okay with it. It’s something you have to feel out (I once asked permission to take a picture of a bunch of carrots at a stand, which prompted a 5 minutes discussion amongst themselves…) I don’t take pictures of people without asking but in this kind of market, they’re used to people taking photos. But when in doubt, I ask nicely. (It helps if you compliment what they do before you ask; I tell folks visiting from out of town: “Appreciate first, then take a picture afterward” because people tend to get caught up in taking pictures they often miss enjoying something in front of them.

    Denise: I used to live near a goat farm in upstate New York and they had the best ice cream. They do say that the milk is quite good for you, but I just enjoyed it for the taste.

    Sophie: Hmmm, I did see it called choux Nordique when I was in Switzerland, so perhaps. Maybe I’ll check it out~ Thanks!

  • hi David, you always lift my spirits ;)

  • Learned so much from this post that even if I were just “touristing” around I’d not discover. From you description, I’ll skip the medlars–which are completely unfamiliar to me. The butter is another matter–my family had a farm and we churned our own butter from raw Gurnsey cow milk. Being plain non-chic Americans, it never occurred to us to shape it in pretty molds, but it was just that rich color and, of course, intensely buttery tasting. Even then there was a law against selling raw milk products here.

  • This sounds amazing, I adore Farmers markets but this sounds next level!

  • As for honey do not forget that on a number of famous public buildings in Paris now carry bee hives on the roofs as bees live happily in a city with no herbicides
    on the flowers in parks,on balconies let alone the huge cemetaries of Paris.
    I myself use the honey from the beehives of the Place des Fêtes in the as yet wonderfully undiscovered 19th arrondissement by the huge paradise of the Buttes Chaumont Park.

    I am a fervent supporter of the apicultural associations in France teaching me
    the virtues of honey. Did you know of the thyme honey therapy? I have seen this therapy in action at the university hospital of Limoges with amazing healing results on complicated wounds of all kinds not the least those resulting from poor body circulation.

  • As for honey do not forget that a number of famous public buildings in Paris now carry bee hives on the roofs as bees live happily in a city with no herbicides
    on the flowers in parks,on balconies let alone the huge cemetaries of Paris.
    I myself use honey from the beehives of the Place des Fêtes in the as yet wonderfully undiscovered 19th arrondissement by the huge paradise of the Buttes Chaumont Park.

    I am a fervent supporter of the apicultural associations in France teaching me
    the virtues of honey. Did you know of the thyme honey therapy? I have seen this therapy in action at the university hospital of Limoges with amazing healing results on complicated wounds of all kinds not the least those resulting from poor body circulation.

  • Ce beurre est splendide, vraiment.
    Les nèfles, c’est très bon aussi, mais à mon avis, c’est un délice secret des méditerranéens, personne d’autre ne les mange à ma connaissance. Ils doivent être mous et flétris pour pouvoir les manger, et il faut aussi les éplucher. Bon appétit !

  • suedoise: I know, it’s pretty interesting. I linked to a previous post I wrote about the honey from the veterinary school in Paris, that’s sold in the Marais, although there are others. I didn’t know about the thyme honey therapy but I have a jar of honey I got in Brittany made by bees that feed on the wild thyme that grows near the dunes and it’s sensational.

    La cocinera loca: Oui, j’aime la forme et peut-être je vais essayer faire une recette cette hiver.

  • Hi David,
    The medlar is a beautiful small tree, with a spreading shape. It’s related to roses as apples are. The tree has big, almost tropical looking, glossy leaves. The fruit is ready to eat right about the time you are thinking about throwing it into the compost heap. The process of waiting for it to become ripe after harvesting it is called “bletting.” It’s supposed to be really soft, spoon it out of the skin. It should have the taste and texture of mildly spiced applesauce. If I couldn’t find apples, and had to eat medlars, I would, and I’d grow the tree because it really is lovely, but otherwise, eh.
    My husband & I keep bees, and my last visit to Paris included a fun excursion to Les Abeilles, 21 rue de la Butte-aux-Cailles, where I checked out the beekeeping equipment and supplies, and bought some yummy local honey and products. I love the apron I bought from here, sweet memories… The shopkeeper keeps hives in Paris, so the honey is REALLY local!

  • Hi David,
    So funny about the kale …
    One more piece to the puzzle is that now I’ve heard that it comes down to what seeds are available to commercial growers, so presumably this affects the ‘bio’ farms as well ?
    Maybe it’s just one more mysterious thing to love about France ;-)
    I’ve still not come across it either, but you’ve inspired me to venture this winter to the 2eme to the supplier who hinted that he’d have it during winter.
    Please keep us posted about the Port Royal market … it’s worth a trip there as eating blette all the time can get a bit monotonous.
    Thanks for the great post as usual …!

  • Some time ago, in a country fair, I tried for the first time Helichrysum honey. This wild flowers grow on the dunes by the sea. The honey has a unique marine taste and production is very small. As Northern Tuscany is mountainous and wooded Chestnut and Acacia honey is common. Chestnut honey and pecorino cheese is a marriage made in heaven.
    Incidentally by pure coincidence today I also went to a food show in Lucca where I had the luck and honour to exchange a few words with Gualtiero Marchesi, the founder of modern Italian cuisine.

  • I’ve decided I simply have to get into this kale, you’re about the 3rd person whose is besotted with kale & I’ve got to have another go of it :) Loved the butter, fabulous sunny colour. The honeys sound awesome too.

  • I wonder why the butter is so yellow! Have the cows lived off yellow flowers (remember Frank Perdue, who fed his chicken Marigold petals)? My mother churned butter, with milk from cows who had lots of wildflowers on our meadows, but never ever did the butter turn out that yellow.

    Could it be that Faisselle is what the Germans call “Quark” and the Austrian “Topfen”? The Viennese fill their cheese Danish with it and make a whole lot of other goodies with it. I have a pastry dough recipe from my mother, one third flour, one third butter, one third “topfen” – it makes incredibly tasty rugelach.

    And that Linden honey, I would have bought the whole lot (I grew up in a house with two very old Linden trees, I can still remember the fragrance of the blossoms and hear the bees swarming in the trees in June).

  • Hello David,

    I am glad you post about honey.

    The honey you got is from Dordogne. I myself come from there and so I can tell you that I do too enjoy tasting all different kind of honeys. We are lucky for that in Dordogne we can enjoy these varieties of honey. some go well with les crêpes some other go well with le foie gras. I do enjoy the chestnut one strong taste, i like it on a slice of ”traditional brick oven“ baked bread.
    I Love my Dordogne and I miss all the real food we have there.
    Now I live in Taiwan.

    :)
    Thank you for your nice blog.
    Fleur
    Regards

  • David; on nearly every subject you touched I had an impulse to cry out various comments, and I could easily comment on every paragraph. The one that got me digging into dictionnaries however was the MEDLAR. Never heard of and the German translation of Mispel didn’t suit me either as the mispel as I know them are striktly for Christmas! So I found this very interesting link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mespilus_germanica

    And I never knew what to do with ‘faisselle’…. I do not like ‘cottage cheese’ the little balls of freshly curdled milk you get in Switzerland and UK – but I have been told that faisselle is even less distinctive in taste than the much beloved ‘fromage frais’ so I never bothered… You seem to have a different connotation to this term and I just might now have to give it a try. :)

    Thank you for this delicious and heart-warming experience. It’s Monday morning and I didn’t mind at all reading this shortly after breakfast!

  • PS: I forgot that faisselle IS very probably the closest relation to MAGERQUARK in Germany and Switzerland. It then really would have literally no taste but make a splendid base for nearly anything and a fabulous natural thickener for baking.
    I – in that case – prefer ‘fromage frais’ (20%), a product which is definitely better in France than any other country…

  • I’m wacky about honey myself. When I was just in Italy I bought a sunflower honey and also a jar of hazelnuts in honey that I ate with a spoon right out of the jar (even though I kept tell myself I was going to bake something with it…) But my fav so far is Andrew’s Cinnamon Whipped honey that you can get in NYC at the Union Sq Green Market on Wednesdays.

  • That butter looks a lot like what we got from the organic market when we were in Paris in July. And it was amazing. We cried when we had to leave the last bit of it behind.

    BTW, have you heard of anyone speak of raw dairy products curing some skin ailments? That also happened on my trip.

  • David, I’ve been getting goat’s milk at more than one SuperU for years now. Granted, I don’t live in Paris, but surely you could find some at a BioCoop, a Naturalia or somesuch around your neighborhood? My goat milk story: tasting it fresh from the udder (in an old enamel cup!) at my neighbor’s farm. So mild, slightly sweet and not a trace of that goatiness. According to them, the goatiness happens as a result of refrigeration…that fresh milk was pure gold.

    As for honey: oh yes, please! I’ve tried so many kinds, and from different producers, and there can be ginormous differences in the “clarity” of a certain variety of honey. For me a general rule of thumb is the darker the better, as there’s more intensity and complexity in the darker ones. I did draw the line at arbousier (arbutus unedo)which I find fairly apalling. To each his own: everytime I come to Paris I bring a jar of arbousier honey to my friend, who relishes it–perhaps partly because she can’t find it there…

  • Tammy: I’ve seen goat milk at the natural foods stores and even in supermarkets, but it’s invariably the sterilized UHT variety and had no flavor, unfortunately. Some have said at the Raspail market on Sunday there is someone who sells fresh goat milk but since I live next to a giant Sunday market (and the Raspail market is crazy-crowded on Sunday mornings), I’ve not mustered the courage to go and see for myself.

    Elana: One of the best honeys I’ve had in the US is the pumpkin honey from Marshall’s honey at the SF Ferry Plaza farmers market. It’s really interesting to taste the honeys available in the states, and it’s nice that all the glorious markets that have sprung up everywhere are featuring local honey!

  • Vous pouvez retrouver tous ces produits sur les marchés organisés localement, dans 26 départements.
    Si vous souhaitez acheter directement sur la ferme, les agriculteurs du réseau “Bienvenue à la ferme” vous accueilleront toute l’année. Il y en a 6000 dans toute la France, de quoi trouver son bonheur.

  • I’ve had wonderful longthatch medlar jam made in England.

  • There IS a goats milk fig ice cream in Petaluma. It tastes like fig newton ice cream and is delicious. The company is called Laloos. I just discovered it having in-laws in Petaluma. Yum! Here’s there list of flavors. http://www.laloos.com/flavors.php

  • The UK jam and jelly producer, Tiptree, makes a medlar jelly which is completely delicious:
    http://www.tiptree.com/new_site/product_zoom.php?id=57&ret=product_list.php?cat=3&menu=products&image=1

    (By the way, their ‘Little Scarlet’ strawberry jam is also fabulous. It’s made from very tiny strawberries, not much larger than wild strawberries, and totally justifies its high price.

    Tiptree carries on a tradition of making jam and jelly from unusual old-fashioned fruits such as damsons and quince that other producers no longer bother with. They grow a lot of the fruit that they use).

  • Hello David,

    It was fun seeing you at the Marche, and I am now re-enjoying that shopping day through your website. We bought a few delicious cheeses from the market, along with a lovely wine and mi-cuit prunes. They were consumed that evening in France, where it all tastes better.

    Pat

  • I love posts about new/different foods!

    The year I was introduced to Menu for Hope, I bid on a “tea time basket” that a lady in London was offering. It was filled with so much awesome stuff, and she sent even more than what had been pictured–two healthy-sized boxes filled with stuff like orange marmalade (not the super sweet American stuff), smoked oatcakes (one of the best things I’ve ever eaten), Tunnocks treats, all sorts of chocolates, and of course different types of teas. I was in heaven, although it took awhile to get there since the boxes were held in customs for at least a month. Regardless, if you host a prize for this year’s MfH, I’d love to suggest a prize of shippable, customs-wait-friendly French foods. ;D

  • wow nice! so yummy! Thanks for creating such post!