An early start at our favourite night market

Yesterday (Saturday, June 21) was the first night market of the season in the village of Saint-Pompon, just five or so kilometres from our home base in Daglan. Since it’s become one of our favourite summer events, my wife Jan and I not only decided to drop in — but also to arrive early, ahead of the main crush of visitors, and park closer to the action.

What’s so good about it? When I described the event in a posting last July 21, I began by comparing the ambience of the market (which is more like a festival or street party) to a lovely scene in the movie “A Good Year,” which takes place in southern France. This is some of what I wrote:

[The scene in the movie] looks and sounds authentically, wonderfully French.  And that’s exactly how Saint-Pompon’s weekly Marché Gourmand Nocturne, or night-time food market, struck us last night as we sat with friends Suzanne and Mark, eating, drinking wine, listening to music, and then dancing.

The organizers of the Saint-Pompon market deserve full marks, because they have created a treat of an event, one that really captures the community spirit of a small French village, bringing people together for food and fun.

Yesterday Jan and I had some errands in the late afternoon, and decided to arrive in Saint-Pompon just after 6 p.m. That turned out to be too early. So we went home, tidied up the house, and promptly drove back — arriving around 7 p.m. That earned us a good parking spot, a chance to scout the various food stalls and, of course, buy some local rosé wine (for a wonderful 1 euro per plastic cup.)

Things were still pretty quiet, in terms of people, although the DJ was blasting away with a mix of French and English music, and gaggles of young children were spinning and jumping around the wooden dance floor. Here’s the view from our picnic bench, looking across the street towards the stall where we usually buy our frites:

Just after 7 p.m., there's not much action at the frites stand across the street.

Just after 7 p.m., there’s not much action at the frites stand across the street.

Looking up the street towards the Mayor’s office, you can see that the picnic tables are not yet fully loaded with visitors:

There is still lots of room at the picnic tables.

There is still lots of room at the picnic tables.

After a while, we decided that we should have some food to go along with the rosé wine, so we ordered a duck sausage for me and some Cambodian food for Jan. Here’s a look at some of the food stalls, with the sausage man at the far left, working away at his grill:

The man on the left is cooking the duck sausages.

The man on the left is cooking the duck sausages.

Now the food at the market is hardly fine dining, but it’s good. Here’s my rather homely serving (for 8 euros) of duck sausage (with summer truffles) and a plastic container of piperade, a mix of tomato, peppers, onion, white beans and potatoes:

My dish of "piperade" and truffle-flavoured duck sausage.

My dish of “piperade” and truffle-flavoured duck sausage.

By 8:30, we had finished munching, and thought it was time to head home and see how the World Cup was progressing in Brazil. By then, the crowds had increased somewhat, as you can see:

By 8:30 or so, the tables were being filled.

By 8:30 or so, the tables were being filled.

Saint-Pompon’s night market will continue each Saturday night through July and August, and I have a feeling that we won’t be missing many of them. I also think we’ll continue to arrive a bit early, ahead of the crowds.

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This entry was posted in Food, French food, Life in southwest France, Markets in France, Tourist attractions, Wine and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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