This past Sunday we made a concerted effort to go to our local farmers' market at Place de la Réunion, just a couple blocks south of the Pére Lachaise cemetery. We are lucky to have plentiful grocery shopping options very close to our apartment, but it's often easy to leave out the trip just a little further to the farmer's market. I often forget how incredible it is that there are two markets per week at Place de la Réunion and two per week along the Cours de Vincennes, also a very short walk from home.
Our first stop was at the flower shop where we had a thoroughly enjoyable few minutes checking out the offerings and listening in on some good banter about the importance of clipping stems at an angle. We ended up getting a bunch of tulips, and the woman threw in a rose to make up for not being able to split up our bunch of flowers.
We also grabbed two large, round artichokes from Brittany. Boiled in salted water with a bay leaf and lemon, served with a chunk of good, salted butter, these things can just about be a main course in hot weather. If I had a grill, I would have bought at least four whole mackerel to eat after the artichokes. One of my favorite summer foods is mackerel grilled on a wood fire with nothing more than large sea salt, aromatic herbs and maybe a wedge of lemon. It's also worth noting that maquereau is the French word for both "mackerel" and "pimp".
A few years ago, while trying to motivate a group to go on a walk after a large meal, a friend said, "Come on, I don't think anyone ever regrets going on a walk." I feel that way about farmers' markets; even on the rare days when I don't buy anything, it's still a rewarding experience.
On my list for next Sunday is the fish-shaped semi-aged goats' milk cheese from the Fermier Du Tarn. Even if I can't grill a few mackerel at home, at least I know I can get cheese shaped like one.