Showing posts with label Markets. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Markets. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Joan of Arc and the Fortress of Chinon. Bourgueil Market.

Day 11

Joan of Arc and the Fortress of Chinon. 
Bourgueil Market.

Here in Chinon, where I am based, there is a remarkable fortress with a remarkable history. It includes the Plantagenets. Eleanor of Aquitaine was imprisoned here by her husband Henry II but the woman that dominates the story of the fortress even though she spent just a few days here is Joan of Arc, the teenager who put an end to the awful 100 Years War.
The town of Chinon (and the River Vienne) as seen from the fortress
In February 1429, in this very fortress in Chinon (began in the 10th century),  she persuaded the disinherited French king Charles VII to stand up for himself or at least to let her stand up for him and for France. He agreed and it made a king of him and a martyr of Joan who was captured by the Burgundians and handed over to the English who engineered, with church cooperation, her burning at the stake for heresy.  

Here be dragons! A summer exhibition in the fortress. Even Nessie is here.

Twenty five years later, the verdict was overturned by an inquisitorial court and the rehabilitation has been going on ever since. The Maid of Orleans, who lived to be just 19, is the French patriot and has been used worldwide as an example of patriotism. 
No shortage of cabbage plants at the market
The morning was much more peaceful. Then, we headed up the road to nearby Bourgueil (about 13 km) for the weekly market there. It was packed. It is spread over the main street, some adjoining ones and also takes in a smallish hall.  All over the place and hard (not impossible!)  to get a handle on it as food stalls are mixed in with those selling clothes, shoes, knives, and so on.
A local goat cheese.
"Drink with dry wine!"
We had no bother filling bags. Got lots of local fruit including delicious melons. Also a local goat cheese, after a taste and with some friendly advice to eat it with a dry wine. Lunch too was covered, mine a crispy tasty mille feuille with ham and cheese. Met the man with the beer and wine that we’d seen last week in Chinon and went off with some beer and a large bottle of gorgeous apple juice.
The boys at the bar, a very popular market stall.
Had been hoping to pick up a good ready-made meal at the market but they seemed in short supply so we fell back on our local traiteur in Chinon and now have a Pork Curry in the fridge for dinner, along with some other bits and pieces that will cover starter and dessert  from Bourgueil. A bottle of local beer is nearing its end and a bottle of local wine is about to be opened.

The sun too has made an appearance this afternoon after a hazy morning that promised mist but delivered zilch. Looks like dining al fresco this evening.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Food, wine and beer at the town market. Then a wee tour as temps rise!

Day 6

Food, wine and beer at the town market. Then a wee tour as temps rise!

Stars and stripes. Market hats
There was a superb market, large and with much variety, in Chinon this morning. Food, followed by clothing and footwear, accounted for the major part of the stalls.
Kids eye the sweets
Amazingly, we ended up coming home with a bag of Asian food. The intended main course is Chicken with Black Mushrooms while a couple of enormous Spring Rolls are also included along with two little bags of an orange coloured liquid whose purpose we had to work on.
It seems that the sauce, possibly a ginger based one, is to be paired with the Spring Rolls (below). In any case, the rolls, full of shoots, nuts and chicken bits, wrapped in rice paper and topped with prawns, were absolutely delicious with the slightly spicy sauce. What a starter for two euro each!

And the main course, the Chicken with Black mushrooms, was incredible. So tasty, especially with the savoury rice from the same stall. Getting worried here as CL is beginning to clear her plate before I do. 

Mother and Child in St Martin's
These two courses underline what I’ve been preaching the past few years about the value of markets and traiteurs in France. One of our best meals so far cost us just over seventeen euro, twenty two if you add the lovely bottle of Vouvray, also bought in the market. Don’t know what the strawberries cost but they are for desert.

The morning wasn't the warmest but the temperatures rose as the day went on and I spotted it reach 31 degrees in the car. Our terrace, sheltered on three sides, goes even higher, so a mid-day visit to the pool was necessary.

Nuclear power
In the afternoon, we headed for the lovely village of Candes St Martin and its ancient church where the saint died. A tough walk in the conditions took us to a magnificent viewpoint over the confluence of the Vienne and Loire Rivers and the view also included the local Nuclear Powered Electricity Plant from which lines of enormous pylons march through the vineyards.

River trip on the Vienne. The bit of sand behind separates it from the Loire,
though the two rivers soon join to your left
Over the river then and on to the wine area of Bourgueil and to St Nicolas de Bourgueil in particular. Here we called to the recommended Caveau des Vigernons and bought our first bottles of the local red (made from Cabernet Franc, just like neighbouring Chinon) and also booked a table in their restaurant for tomorrow evening.
St Nicolas de Bourgueil.
A roundabout.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Italian Start to Saturday Food Trail

Saturday Food Trail in Cork
Princes Street


An old favourite

A new favourite from Tom's Bakery

Venison lunch
Started off last Saturday’s Food Trail in the city with a visit to a church, of all places. The Unitarian Church in Prince’s Street, Cork’s oldest church, was playing host to the Irlanda Italiana Cultural Association.

The association is composed of Italian friends who enjoy living here and are willing to share their culture. There has already been a series of events and Saturday’s was mainly about food and wine.

Restaurants such as Ballincollig’s Bacco and Douglas Cafe Moroni’s were represented. Moroni's were selling some gorgeous sauces. There were tasters of salamis and you could buy slices of tarts and much more.

There too you could buy Fabio Cavallini’s Traditional Balsamic Vinegars of Modena. Some were very old and very expensive and he also had a walnut liquor. You could even book a Italian chef to come to your home and serve up an authentic Italian meal!

Not surprisingly, the Boot (based on Forge Hill) had a big display and I couldn’t resist buying a pack of their Amaretto biscuits, also some salami. Some tempting wines were also on display, including Montepulciano and also Vermentino di Sardegna. Will have to call out to Forge Hill to see more of their 850 products.

Next food stop was the Coal Quay Market and a call to Tom’s Bakery stall. Usually go for the Country Baguette but this time picked a quarter of his huge Country Loaf and enjoyed it in a big way over the weekend.

There was also a little market in Paul Street in front of KT Max and here I grabbed a bite of lunch, this in the shape of a hot dog (€4.00), one with a Venison sausage from the Crough Farm stall.

Saturday, July 17, 2010




Aside from a Mango and Apricot chutney from Aldi’s, today’s simple lunch came from the English Market. The man in On the Pig’s Back said the St Gall came from Tipperary and is often mistaken for a French cheese but we know this top class product is made by the Fermoy Natural Cheese Company. The cheese and the chutney combined tastily on chuncks of the Country Baguette by Kinsale’s Tom’s Bakery.

While I bought the bread from the Alternative Bread Company in the English Market, Tom’s were on duty at the Coal Quay Market in Emmett Place which had a good turnout and where, among the plants, the food and the knitwear, you could buy the dreaded vuvuzela.

Called down to the debut Lapp’s Quay Bazaar first today. Reached it about 11.30am and, at that stage, everything was low key, the handful of stalls, most selling jewellery, one books, attracting hardly a handful of customers.

The English Market was much busier. Got some mussels and hake from Ballycotton Seafood where they weren't all at happy with the recently announced increase in parking charges, saying that business around town was already poor enough.

A few yards later and I was in front of Iago’s and buying a pot of their Provencal style ratatouille. Cheese and bread were then added to the bag but I could see no sign of Redcurrant jelly anywhere and I ended up buying that (with ten per cent Cabernet Sauvignon added) in the Food Hall at Marks and Spencer’s.