Rick Steves gives the basics to French markets
In a feature piece on Expatica, renown travel guru Rick Steves gives a nice introductory lesson to French markets and shopping for food, and how it fits into the cultural spectrum. Although I don’t go as often as I should, I enjoy French markets (not just in Paris, of course) for the fresh produce, lively exchanges and the genuine pleasure of food. You’ll see chefs walking around looking for the best ingredient for their restaurants that day.
Why Parisians shop on an almost daily basis
Parisians shop almost daily for three good reasons: refrigerators are small (tiny kitchens), produce must be fresh, and shopping is an important social event. It’s a chance to hear about the butcher’s vacation plans, see photos of the florist’s new grandchild, relax over un café, and kiss the cheeks of friends (the French standard is twice for regular acquaintances, three times for friends you haven’t seen in a while).
Produce shops are stocked with the freshest fruits and vegetables. Each morning produce is trucked in from farmers to Paris’ huge Rungis market near Orly Airport and then out to merchants with FedEx speed and precision. Locals generally shop with a small trolley cart rather than use bags needlessly. Also notice how the French resist needless packaging and go with what’s in season….
What are your favorite parts of French markets?