Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Fresh Perspective: Paris Food Markets

Someone kindly mentioned the other day that my blog is missing something: the Paris markets! Given my theory that you can't truly understand a culture until you understand how it interacts with food, they couldn't have been more right.

Paris has fresh food available in amazing quantities and, unlike the U.S., almost all of it is grown/harvested domestically. The fish come in from the north, the fruits and vegetables from the south, and a great many things are brought in from Rungis, the massive market just outside the city where chefs shop early each morning.

Walking through the market you may find everything from live crabs to chickens, and eggs to olives. It is an incredible mixture of produce from sellers who specialize in just one department. The foods are generally arranged in colorful displays, making them appealing to the eye, as well as the palette. In addition, the freshness of all the products seems to add that certain something extra to everything-- the strawberries and carrots seems sweeter, the fish and meats healthier, the pastas more flavorful.

If you're staying in an apartment while in Paris, I recommend trying the fresh chicken or seafood, vegetables, and fruit (Barefoot Contessa has some great French recipes online-- try her Roast Lemon Chicken for an easy, delicious meal). If you have a hotel room during your stay, grab a rotisserie chicken, some cheese and fruit for a lovely picnic in the garden.

Paris Food Markets

* There are many locations throughout the city, and the days/times depend on the location and time of year. Generally markets are held on large boulevards or open squares in neighborhoods and are closed by closing time. Click here for a list of markets by location and their current dates/times.