Ah, the glory of the French food market. Fresh produce, glorious flavours, bright colours, the smells of the fruit and lack of smell from the fish.
As the heart of gastronomic France, you would expect Lyon to have a very good one, and it does. In fact it has several, but time was restrictive on my two night Eurostar trip their last week, so I chose one in the heart of the city by the Rhone, the Quai St Antoine Food Market.
It winds along the river gently. Starting at 4 or 5 am and running until midday in the heart of the city, it’s a very popular and well sourced market. Everything was fantastic, the selection was varied, and better than all of that, in the main it was local.
All kinds of tomatoes begged to be picked up, flat peaches radiated perfume and I swooned at the first bite. Bounties of herbs, garlic and fresh beans. Bright pink radishes with their green leafy hat, baskets of saucisson and legs of ham. Dripping gravy brown rotisserie chickens, turning seductively, challenging you not to buy.
Best of all were the prices. So reasonable, there is no need to grace your strip lit supermarket here. That’s the way it should be. Why don’t we have such markets here?
The weather is challenging, I know, and the costs of London markets for stallholders are prohibitive. Add to that the waiting lists for markets at Borough, but London could house so many more.
We have so many spaces in central London that could house indoor markets – community halls and abandoned spaces. It would make so much sense to support small producers and create a cost effective space for locals to buy quality everyday produce. Not cupcakes or truffles or big chains that we see in all the markets now. I want to buy good tomatoes, salad, fresh eggs, vegetables, meat and fish from the people that grow or produce them. A good rotisserie chicken!
Normal every day food from a normal every day market. Can’t we have one soon?