Christmas shopping at a French outdoor market
Christmas Market in Argenton sur Creuse
Christmas shopping in France
In most places, Christmas shopping is done with weeks in advance at major supermarkets. In France however, the people take pride in buying the fresher produces for their festive tables. For this they go to the fresh-produce outdoor markets.
Yesterday, I was invited to visit one with a friend, to do his Christmas' dinner shopping. I took my children with me as I thought it would be an enriching experience. We absolutely loved it. From the fresh fruits, to the artisanally made cheeses and wines, everything was perfect. Even the seafood carefully arranged on the stalls and the different birds to be honoured at the Chistmas table were a delight to be seen.
There is a Christmas "ambiance" everywhere. From Christmas lights and music on the streets, to wooden houses covered in snow and Christmas decorations. There was even a Santa Claus walking along the streets giving sweets to the children.
Christmas markets are not only a pleasure for shopping, but also to have a walk and discover along with the local gastronomy, the French way of living.
Seafood has a place of honour on the French festive table. Oysters, crabs, lobster and many other that I had never seen before!
Many supermarkets offer a "Seafood dish" ready to eat. But traditionally people prefer to go to the markets and pick their own to assemble their own dishes. Most of the seafood is eaten raw or with lemon juice.
From the Farm to your kitchen
Fresh products are a must in any respectable French kitchen.
From fresh eggs to fruits and vegetables. Anything to please your fancies!
Traditionally, the French have preferred Turkey or Capon for Christmas dinner. But you can find all kind of birds at the market: cock, chicken, hen, goose, duck, quail, grouse and many others. Usually they are served as a main course which follows a starter of foie gras or seafood.
Wine and Liquors
Of course in a French market the Wine Merchant could not be absent, with wine bottled on his own property and his home made liquors.
For under 3 euros, you can have on your table a Touranie wine. A local wine from the Val de Loire. And for the aperitif, nothing better than one of the local specialities made with wine and spices or fruits.