The Marchés des Producteurs de Pays are held throughout the country in different towns throughout the year. I love when they come to Paris, because it is a way to purchase quality products direct from the people who make them. The merchants are held to strict rules if they want to participate in these special markets. They must cultivate, fabricate or cook themselves the products they sell.
Usually at these markets you run into people who are passionate about what they do. Like the « truffiers » that we met Saturday Nov. 20th at the market held on the boulevard de Reuilly. They are truffle specialists. Truffle mushrooms (not the chocolates!). Once we got the woman talking about her truffle hunting dog and pig, she was off and chattering about how to cook things while her husband kept handing us menus in an effort to make us salivate, and his wife taking them away saying that he was mean and torturing us! They had a photo album of their trained golden retriever, and proudly spoke of how if they merely said the word « truffe » the dog would go and get the basket used for collecting them (except in the summer, since he knows that it’s not truffle season).
Next to the truffle stand, there is a stand selling home-made jams. And another one selling bee’s wax candles. And yet another selling liqueurs and wines. And farther down, gingerbreads and madeleines. Hot crêpes are steaming on the griddle next to a merchant selling fresh cheeses…
You could spend all afternoon and a good chunk of your salary at these markets. But it is a way to connect with the food that you eat, and the products you consume, as well as the people that make them. With so many supermarkets and even organic stores that deal in large distribution, we are no longer « in touch » with what we put in our bodies.The marché des producteurs de pays is a good way to reverse this sad trend.
Look for upcoming dates and locations on their website. There is one going on this weekend at the Village Saint Paul in the Marais.