ENGLISH MARKET


HOLIDAY BUZZ DOESN’T ALWAYS TRAVEL WELL

Once upon a time, in the last century, I read a novel in the garden of a gíte near the Breton town of Priziac. I was on holidays, relaxed. It was a terrific read.

Some months later, in the dreary deep of an Irish winter, I re-read the novel. And when I came to a particular scene, I must say I was disappointed. It wasn't quite what I had remembered. I reckon, that in my super relaxed holiday state, a glass or two sipped, I rewrote that particular scene myself.

But, of course, the book remained the same. By the way, I still have it. It is called Voss, written by the Australian Patrick White. And I can say that it is still a good read, even without my embellishments!

Books of course are not the only things changed by the holiday experience. Does the Tomme de Savoie you bought in the south of France taste the same as a similar cheese from the English market? How many times have you brought home a bottle of spirit or liquor, say Pineau de Charente or Pastis for example, and how many times have you been disappointed on opening it up and trying to enjoy it here, the two thirds full bottle often thrown out a year or two later. The experience is never quite the same.

And so it was with some trepidation that we decided some time back to try and repeat a simple but delightful dish that we had one evening in the sunny courtyard of a gite near the town of Bayeux in Normandy. This area is famous for its black pudding and we had been warned not to leave without trying the boudin noir.

The Marché in Bayeux was in full swing on a hot sunny day and we had no bother getting the pudding and we also got some free-range eggs. Amazingly you can get a massive range of fresh local produce at these markets but try the supermarkets for fresh milk and you’ll be lucky to find a few cartons, as the French seem to go for the vile tasting UHT.

We tried the dish it here, using the (supposedly) best of local black pudding but it wasn’t quite the same. The local product is usually quite salty, harder also than the imported variety.

The next best thing is to go into the Pig’s Back stall in the English Market and pick up some French Boudin Noir there (€3.00 for about a third of a ring). But you may have to try a few times as they don’t always have it. They had it recently and we tried it, again with the free range eggs, and it was splendid, though I must say we missed that sunny courtyard in Normandy.

If you are in the Market and want to make a full meal of it, you could do worse than pick up the Feta Cheese, Olive and Pepper salad they make up at the Olive stall. For dessert, I dare you to pass Heavens Cake, another nearby stall, without buying!

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