The last of the night markets

For all the time we’ve spent in the Dordogne, I’m not sure I’d ever heard of a “night market” until one of my readers asked me about them in June. Where were they? What nights were they held?

At first blush, they didn’t sound too sensible to me. Why go shopping for fruit, veggies and so on at night, when you could go to a morning market during daylight hours?

To be helpful to my loyal reader, I did some research and discovered that — not surprisingly — night markets are markets held at night. So I supplied her with some basic information, including the fact that a night market is held regularly in the hamlet of Bouzic, a fairly short drive from Daglan. Still, I wasn’t entirely clear about their purpose.

Funnily enough, later in the summer, one of our friends invited us to the Bouzic night market, where we learned that the emphasis is more on having an informal dinner than on shopping. There were six of us at our table, among several hundred people in a field (I’m estimating), and we had a great time. We also learned that you’re supposed to take your own plates and cutlery, because the food you buy is usually sold in plastic tubs or equivalent.

Then last night, my wife Jan and I ventured off on our own to St. Pompon’s last Marché Gourmand Nocturne of the 2012 season. Since St. Pompon is only a five-minute drive from Daglan, we left home around 7 p.m. and were at the market while it was still light.

Here’s the sign just outside the village, announcing the market. It says that the markets are held “Every Saturday evening from June 23 to Sept. 1,” so it’s really not a long season.

Sign

Details about the St. Pompon night market.

We parked just inside the village, and walked towards the activity. And here’s what we saw as we reached the centre of the village — a line of food stalls stretching along the street, ending at the Mairie (the Mayor’s office):

Food stalls

A long row of food stalls, ready to serve.

As we were driving out of Daglan, we stopped the car to chat with one of our friends who was walking home after picking blackberries. When we told her that we were off to the St. Pompon night market for the first time, she told us we’d enjoy it — “it’s very champêtre,” she said, meaning “rural” or “rustic.” And that’s exactly what it is.

There is a real mix of cuisines, but everything is informal and friendly (and inexpensive). For instance, here’s a stall serving a variety of curries:

Curries

Just in case you’re feeling like something Indian.

Another stall was serving up a variety of grilled meats, including these hunks of chicken:

Chicken

Large pieces of grilled chicken, ready to go.

There were lots of other choices, including hamburgers, hot dogs, sausages, couscous, tajines, and Vietnamese cuisine. (Plus a few stalls selling traditional market goodies, like fresh fruit.)

After wandering around for a while, we settled on a stall that was selling a nice combination of goodies — fresh oysters and wine. We settled down with half a dozen oysters (delicious and briny) each, plus a plastic cup of drinkable rosé wine. Then I bought some frites (French fries) to munch with the oysters as well as our next course. Since we were near the area for dancing later on, we got to enjoy the sound system with such traditional French classics as the theme from Ghostbusters. So there’s the start of our dinner:

Oysters

Oysters with lemon, French fries with mayo, and wine. All set!

Last but not least, we shared a plastic barquette of mussels — loaded with garlic and parsley, and just delicious. Here they are:

Mussels

A small plastic tub of moules to share.

That wasn’t quite the end of it, however. I did buy a nice square piece of plum tart, but I don’t have a picture to share. It looked so good that I had scarfed it down before I remembered that I had wanted a photo for this blog. Now you’ll just have to wait until the next night market, next year.

 

 

 

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4 Responses to The last of the night markets

  1. Lisa at fLVE says:

    I love these types of markets and we have lots of them here, too. 🙂

  2. That’s great, Lisa. Thanks for the comment. I can imagine that your markets in California offer incredible variety!

  3. Dominique Hillson says:

    Hi loren.. Dominique here from Bouzic. Our night markets…shame I didn’t see you! I’m a benevole and help every Tuesday night. We give out plates and cutlery free, also cups/ glasses and trays for when finished bar b q your meat, to put on. We also put out tables and benches free, the bar b q’s are all going for you to use free! Along with herbs and spices. There are on average about 600/800 people a week, parking is free, ample spaces, music free… Coffee/ tea is served at your tables for a price of €1 a cup! Not bad, the ambience is fantastic… Come again in 2016 and experience the friendliness of Bouzic…we have a website where you can peruse the fun we have. It’s very very child friendly, no roads runninghrough the middle, and an enormous amount of playing area…. Best regards Dom xx

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