In the Greater Daglan Area, not every day involves dining out. Often we prepare our own meals, and often we base our meals on what’s available in the local markets. Since today was Sunday, that meant that it was market day in Saint-Cyprien, so off we went for a look.
Saint-Cyprien is a nice-sized medieval town about 25 kilometres north and west of Daglan, on the north side of the Dordogne River, due west of Beynac. Its market is large and varied, and is easily one of the best weekly markets in the Périgord Noir, second only to Sarlat’s market on Saturdays.
Most of the market is set up in rows of stalls, along the town’s main street. From the photo below, you can see market stalls stretching into the distance, literally to the end of the town. Every now and then, the market extends into open spaces lying off the main street.
When I describe the market as “varied,” that’s exactly what I mean. Not only are there stalls selling all the usual foods — vegetables, meats, seafood and so on — but there’s also clothing, belts, hats, shoes and more on offer.
Here is one of the classics: A large stall selling a huge variety of French cheeses.
And here’s a stall selling inexpensive men’s and women’s shoes, sandals and slippers:
Then there’s the fresh-baked bread, like these loafs:
And since it’s now spring in the GDA (although this morning was grey and a bit chilly), there are lots of plants, flowers and herbs on offer. (We bought a couple of coriander plants to be raised in a pot, as fresh coriander is notoriously hard to find in supermarkets here.)
Lots of the produce now available has been grown fairly locally, although there are some products being sold despite being out of season, like the melons now available from Morocco. (We’re waiting for the melon season in the Lot to arrive, later in the summer.) Here’s one example of the many vegetable stalls in Saint-Cyprien each Sunday:
For us, the seafood stall is one of the best, since both my wife Jan and I love fish and other goodies from the sea. Here’s a view of what’s available:
Finally we homed in on dos de cabillaud, or “back of cod,” which is a popular cut of the salt water fish. (If you see cabillaud on a menu, the restaurant is serving fresh cod; if they use the word morue, they’re referring to salt cod. So brandade de morue is a creamy dish of seasoned, mashed salt cod and olive oil, often including mashed potatoes.) That’s the dos de cabillaud in the centre-left of this photo, from which the fishmonger cut two portions for our lunch.
Back home, Jan started in on lunch. She steamed the fresh spinach we had bought in the market; sautéed the cod in a pan with a bit of butter and lemon juice; and fried cubes of par-boiled potatoes in duck fat. With the cod she served a sauce she had made of crème fraîche and some fresh dill she had bought in Saint-Cyprien this morning. Here’s my plate:
Finally, for dessert we had a bowl of Charlotte strawberries (deliciously sweet) with a touch of Grand Marnier and a very large touch of whipped cream, like this:
But you shouldn’t leave this edition of Radio Free Daglan thinking that everything at a French market is wonderful. As I was walking out of the market, I stopped to buy a pain au raisins at a bakery stall, to munch as a mid-morning treat. Normally, raisin buns make a nice breakfast as they are soft, sweet and full of juicy raisins. This version was tough, with very few raisins; the pastry itself seemed more like a bread dough than a pastry dough; and the bun wasn’t sweet at all. In fact, it had a lingering taste of garlic.
You may be wondering if I actually managed to eat the whole thing, or if I pitched it out. Well, let’s just say I believe in the old maxim, “Waste not, want not.”