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Sunday, 31 May 2015

Paulliac Lamb chops and limp chips at Bistro Le Grand Mystère

Agneau (ah – knew) that one day I would get to eat some French lamb. I will leave you a few seconds to stop groaning at my bad French joke. It came in the form of some lamb cutlets in a meal purchased at a restaurant whose name I have forgotten because I didn't write it down or keep the receipt it seems. Let's call it Bistro Le Grand Mystère.

Anyway at the Bistro Le Grand Mystère, a slightly touristy joint in Bordeaux, they had some nice dishes on offer and despite being given the English language menu (how dare they!?) I ordered my grilled lamb chops in French - côtelettes d'agneau grillée. The lady bartender/waitress quickly whipped away the offending English menu and replaced it with the French version. She then clambered up onto my table, kicked off the cutlery, and proudly sang the French national anthem. Not really. However, she was doubly impressed that I knew what a persillade was (a mix of finely chopped parsley and garlic) and when my chops and chips eventually arrived à table the côtelettes were indeed persillé. (sprinkled with the persillade).

My half dozen lamb cutlets were very tasty and cooked pink in the middle just as I had asked. The chips however were a bit of a disappointment – not that hot, limp and tasted uninteresting. On the menu it said that the lamb's provenance was from salt meadow Paulliac lamb. Raised on coastal soils and grasses pré- salé suckling lamb has a strong reputation for being a really good class of lamb and honoured with the Label Rouge. This is mostly due to its diet having fed on Atlantic grasses rich in salt and iodine.

I bumped into Pierre the waiter from Au Bouchon des Chartrons chilling out at the bar in this restaurant and when I asked him about the beef steak I had enjoyed there the other day he explained that there is a lot of good and valued beef in the Gironde region and neighbouring Gascony and the Blonde d'Aquitaine, Boeuf de Challose, Bazardaise and Garonaise all have terrific flavour. My steak was from a Boeuf de Challose apparently. He seemed very impressed that I (as an Englishman I suppose) should even ask. So much for the unrefined Rosifs hey!
French butcher's bike?
As I paid my bill I heard a French music artist on the radio. This was Arthur H one of my favourites. After picking the lady bartender up off the floor (he knows French music as well!!!!?) she wrote down some other musicians I might like – la Grande SophieCamille- and Les Françoises “Je m'appelle Charlie”. At least I still have the bit of paper from this exchange even if I no longer have the bill receipt.

When I left the Bistro Grand Mystère I felt almost French! Give me another 'Ein -e ken!

#Bordeaux #BordeauxFrance

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Yes Mum Fish and Chip shop in Bordeaux, France.

Well, I promised in my introductory blog post about my forthcoming foodie trip to Bordeaux that I would do my best to find Bordeaux's only Fish and Chip shop – the quaintly named 'Yes Mum'. I would say that I had almost given up when it found me late one afternoon. I was happily browsing around the main road of cours d'Alsace et Lorraine when I took a right turn by the imposing Grande Cloche historic gate on to the busy artists quarter and place Fernand - LaFargue.

Soudainement, there I was outside the 'Yes Mum' Fish and Chip shop at No2 with its elegant slate grey frontage and awning. All along I made an assumption that it was owned by a British ex pat couple. On popping in to say hello I quickly found out from the friendly bearded proprietor Sébastien Bonet that he was French. The place was closing after the lunch time trade so no Fish and Chips for me. He said that they get customers from all nations after their Fish and Chips not just the British. According to another website he also owns the Pharmacie de Garde and Pie Colette and may be opening another chippie soon based on the popularity of this one.

These following, very positive, slightly edited reviews from Trip Advisor, are testament to how well this establishment is received by French people. I have chosen the most positive and used the Google Translator to change the original French to English. I too have chosen to leave in some of the oddities that one gets from Google Translator in terms of not quite a perfect French/English translation. Overall my intention is to convey the love that the French customers have for our national dish and its re-creation in Bordeaux. None of them mention salt and vinegar on top but it seems they do offer this and also tartar and HP brown sauce.

pigeons and friend on place Fernand - LaFarge

The quotes

'Fresh Fish and Chips and lovely mushy peas – great value. If I lived in Bordeaux I would go at least once a week. These kind of gems are few and far between.'

'Great Food, great music, great place in a ultra hip square where all the cool locals hang out with the musicians, the artists, the hipsters and the pigeons.'

'Un vrai Fish and Chips bon, sans prétention. A true Fish and Chips without pretension'

'A very nice little place on the place Fernand - LaFargue. A real fish and chips, good, unpretentious at the junction between restaurant and fast food. The fish and chips are well done as are the chicken and chips, all served in cones. They have burgers much better than others.'

'It is not easy to prepare good fish and chips and this (rather modest) restaurant succeeded. Fish is well prepared not too greasy and the fries are home made. The location is very good for a quick meal especially in summer. It is not haute cuisine but very correct.'

'Here's a great Fish and Chips. I have had fish and chips that was dry and limp. Not here. I come on business to Bordeaux and I thought I must try it and in doing so I was reconciled with this great mythical English dish. And what of the mashed peas We must talk! She is gorgeous! Next time I demand extra mashed peas! It's just as good.'

'Very pleasant discovery this Fish and Chips, besides being good, generous, original and really affordable for the price. What are more valuable are the fresh products. The fish can be different every day depending on the catch of the day. The threads are cut and collected on site. The fries are home-made and delicious. In short – if you like good food with good products this is your place!'

'Small restaurant/snack nice. Ideal location but not on summer evening. The terrace was stormed and we must wait to be seated. The fish and chips is good but maybe too plentiful. The version with just one fish fillet (7 €) would have been more than enough. I took two servings (9.50€) and did not finish. The prices are very decent. But if you pick a restaurant to dietary and light cuisine – please go your way. For my part I certainly resell!!'

Well, for my part I might even resell my own Mum to take a trip back to Bordeaux and sample Sébastien Bonet's clearly very tasty fish and chips chez Yes Mum! They sound scrummy. Bring on the mushed peas!

#Bordeaux #BordeauxFrance

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Dorade roti and the lusty French Romeo and Juliet.

Imagine this. It is a balmy Tuesday evening in Bordeaux. I am sitting on the far reaches of the tables zone. Here are the metal chairs and the sun shielding umbrellas of the Italian restaurant Simeone Del'Arte at 10 place Camille Jullian. They specialise in Mediterranean cuisine. I have a cold 1664 beer in front of me. Je suis heureux and I have been practising my French tout la journée. I feel almost effluent. Love is in the air as well as a few zappy wasps it seems. I have to mind the guêpe. I don't want to get stung. Some small group of young teenage girls find their mobiles uproariously funny not a few tables away. One bats away a wasp and her colourful bracelet flies into the air and catches on the lower branches of a flowery tree. The girls collapse laughing and light up their cigarettes. People smoke a lot here I notice. At least it keeps the wasps away.

From the two truncated Roman columns standing historically on the square - to the distinct aromas of thyme dotted 'hot from the oven' pizzas, and buttery parmesan pasta dishes I could almost be in Italy. Time to think about some food myself but, also to people watch for a short while. There is no rush.

Terrace at Cinema Café Utopia

On the opposite side of the square lies the Cinema Café Utopia. Other folk look casually across in my direction. Pretty sun kissed women on bikes head off in the direction of rue de la merci their long skirts floating in their wake. Ici, all is conviviality, pleasant times envisaged as being a thing sat on an olive oil blessed crunchy toasted slice of bruschetta. Hark at me getting all romantic.  Suddenly, all my focus is on one single person out of over a hundred or so. She looks like she should be ecstatically dancing in a fountain so incredibly happy is she. “She may be the face I can't forget. A trace of pleasure or regret. May be my treasure or the price I have to pay. She may be the song that summer sings...” Yes thank you Charles Aznavour.

This slender tousle haired rather pretty woman flings her arms in the air, flashes a smile so brilliant for a moment the very sun is subdued and her rose scented self is swept up into the adoring arms of he. “He may be the face I can't forget...” Charles!! Arret! Stop now!

For the next fifteen minutes they sit on a hard wooden bench totally unaware of anything in the world (and I mean anything). Nothing exists except their uncompromising love and lust for each other. They embrace and enfold, tease and please, touch and stroke each other's limbs; each one eager as rampant bunnies to kiss the other with a collusion of blistering smackers and soft tender kisses. Oh to be so loved. Oh my life, Romeo and Juliet never had it so good. Oh, to ask the waiter for another very cold 1664 beer and a fan. Here they are bless 'em.

After all that mouth activity it is time for some food, I think. Having gone a bit meat crazy on this long weekend break I deliberately look out for an alternative.

I move over to the dining tables side of the actual restaurant and eventually choose to have a whole fish with accompaniments. The fish is a roast dorade – latin name Pagellus bogaraevo and it comes with a white asparagus, egg and rice mash, some salad, fresh lemon and rings of colourful peppers. In English it is a red sea bream. It is rare that I get to eat a whole fish like this and it was very tasty. I even photographed the remaining skeleton. When I looked up from eating the lovers had gone off to find a room or a back alley. Or a balcony.

The restaurant has become very busy and a rather noisy mixed sex group of French friends in their twenties have just arrived with the intention of partying and laughing clamorously. Think footballers wives françaises and bearded Romain Duris wannabees with plenty of Euros for bottles of champagne. As they say in journalistic circles I had my dessert, paid up and left them to it. The dessert was called a Financier. It is a dome shaped French teacake that traditionally tastes of almonds and caramelised butter. They have a soft and springy texture. Mine came with crème anglaises but didn't taste of much really. Nice evening though. Goodnight lovers. Wherever you are. xx

#Bordeaux #BordeauxFrance

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Who has stolen my Bordeaux brasserie? Call the armed police!

Rick Stein in his great TV series 'French Odyssey' from the 1990s once recommended eating at a railway station brasserie for good food at very reasonable charges. I tried this out on my previous visit to Bordeaux in 2008 and ate at the Entrechamps brasserie at Bordeaux's main SNCF run railway station the Gare St Jean. It turned out to be as he said so this time round in 2015 I thought I would try it again.
Entrechamps brasserie at Gare St Jean 2008

But what do you do when someone has run off with your brasserie and all is confusion when you expect to see an eatery where no eatery exists? And what on earth are all these new places? And soldiers with machine guns?

Unbeknownst to me the whole station is/was being massively redeveloped; the areas above the platforms are an organised mass of aluminium scaffolding and it looks as if the station has been stretched lengthwise and new eateries are now in place including (I am truly sorry about the next swear word) a McDonalds! I ran as quickly as I could hobble past that one.

Le Grand Comptoir

Totally gone is the old style Entrechamps brasserie and in its place there is Le Grand Comptoir where I eventually sat to eat. It was all rather smart noir et vert and decorated in the 'by the way we make wine in Bordeaux' style nouveau. Compared with the old brasserie it was decidedly modern and cavernous and very professional. The young coloured guy who was my waiter couldn't have been more welcoming. Whilst I sat waiting to order there were armed police and soldiers both male and female walking amongst the railway travellers and a slightly hypnotic display was promoting a sci fi film starring George Clooney and a startled woman who kept appearing in and out of a field. It looked exciting and was opening in France the day after I was about to depart. Merde. The English title is Tomorrowland. I think the French title was something along the lines of 'In The Pursuit of Tomorrow'.

There was quite a lot of choice in the food and after some consideration I ordered the fricassée de poulet aux olives et citron confit avec riz basmati. It was agreeable enough and came with a cloth hat containing some bread. I wondered if I was supposed to wear it at a jaunty angle during my meal. Well, cher reader foreign customs can be confusing and I wouldn't want to stand out. After I had finished eating I nicked the menu from an empty side table for future reference. I don't think the machine gun toting armed police saw me but if they ever come knocking at my front door in the UK I will feign total innocence.

The crème brûlée à la vanille was passable. You see mes amis sorry to go on but I needed this menu otherwise all the accents on my written version of crème brûlée à la vanille would have been a mèlange of type script faux pas, n'est pas?. Even as I look at the words I am struck by the impression that several simplified flying insects are attempting to touch base on the top of several letters. You must see that too, oui? One even has a hat. If you squint it could even be grey.
fricassée de poulet  with grey hat


Well suppose it beats fond childhood memories of British Rail stale sarnies. Au Revoir Entrechamps et Bonjour Le Grand Comptoir.

"Stolen menu? What stolen menu?"
#Bordeaux #BordeauxFrance

Monday, 25 May 2015

Moules frites in Bordeaux. Bordering on the chewy.

When I arrived in Bordeaux it was a Saturday afternoon and after booking into my hotel I took a familiar stroll down the very busy rue St Catherine, complete with dense throngs of shoppers entertained by sporadic street artists. Opposite St Projet square I cut down the narrow rue de la merci sometimes known as the impasse de la merci towards an old haunt, the Cinema Café Utopia on place Camille Jullian. I stopped for a refreshing Meteor beer; enjoyed the thought of being back in Bordeaux; then continued to explore the Golden Triangle district and the historical centres of old Bordeaux St-Pierre and St-Éloi on foot. These areas have beautifully restored honey yellow coloured buildings (some new projects were still in dusty restoration netting as I was there) and there were more restaurants and café bars than any person could ever desire. These are especially nice as the sun goes down and Bordeaux goes eating crazy. It is an extremely different experience to being in town on a Saturday night in the UK. Eating out in France appears to be a cultured affair with the emphasis on enjoying good fresh food cooked well with family and friends and a few drinks not getting blind drunk and being a public embarrassment and social nuisance.

With eating something nice in mind I scoured the golden lit ram-packed streets for somewhere good to eat where the French eat. Eventually, I came across Le Tio Pepe a French bistro on the rue de Remparts just off from Place Gambetta. It looked very busy outside and I wasn't sure that I would even get a table for one. The male owner waved me inside and showed me to a small red and white checked table opposite his bar area. There was a constant buzz of food and drinks being ferried from the kitchen to the customers outside. A young man who worked there seemed to constantly running hither and thither and occasionally, for the minutest of split seconds, even appeared to be frozen in mid air with his burgeoning trays! He certainly worked hard for his money. I wondered if he might be a family member to the owners.

Outside of Tio Pepe taken on Tuesday evening.
I had already decided what I wanted from the board on the street (moules frites facon grand-mére) mussels and chips like granny makes. From the waiter's language and body language it was pleasantly obvious I would have to wait my turn in ordering. Whilst waiting I ordered a beer and just took in the atmosphere of the busy bistro, the ambiance, the staff and the happiness of the customers chit chatting away. I already felt very relaxed with no indication of the blisters to come! I thought I had brought some comfortable shoes to walk in and luckily I had also brought a second slightly larger pair. Maybe those quaint photographic cobbles weren't quite so quaint and kind to my feet after all.

I finally got to order in French and I asked what 'facon' meant. The answer came back as facon meaning 'like' as in it is like that which granny makes. Sounded good. Apparently the creamy sauce contained garlic, onions, parsley, some sprigs of thyme, double cream and a little blue cheese and 'something secret' that only granny knows about. The picture is not of the ones I had but something as similar as I could find on the internet.

Maybe granny wasn't fully aware that a fair few of the mussel shells were broken or empty in my bowl of mussels and that the mussels themselves were just about 'all right' considering the volume they must get through cooking for large amounts of people but also they were quite shrivelled and not at all like the plump juicy ones I cook for myself at home. The sauce was tasty and I mopped up the remainder with the bread pieces served with the meal. The salvation of the not unpleasant evening was a delicious slice of tart citron. I wonder if granny made that? Because if she did she is on to a winner.

The bistro also serves tartare de saumon, dos de merlu roti, brochettes de gamba, calamars a la Basque, axoa de veau, axoa de beouf, a trilogy of fois gras, tartare de beouf Charolais, bavette steaks, entrecôte steaks and a grilled magret de canard with a pear based sauce. The veal axoa is a typically Basque recipe that used to be served on fair days and was accompanied with robust red wines of the Bordeaux region or a rich fruity Madiran. The recipe contained garlic, chilli peppers, bay leaves, parsley, thyme and a strong Espelette pepper. I bet granny can remember that and granddad too!

#Bordeaux #BordeauxFrance

Are two steaks in one day too many? I think not.

Who would eat two beef steaks in one day? Apparently I would.

Having already decided to use the tram system to inexpensively glide about Bordeaux and see more of the suburbs of the city plus, save my ailing feet, I found myself around the Les Hangers area of the city. This is in the Chartrons district once historically connected with the Bordeaux docks and all the import and export of the wines and spices that made Bordeaux the wealthy city it is today. More recently in time the area has reinvented itself with businesses opening up selling antiques and in the last ten years a long strip of top quality shops and restaurants called Les Hangers- Cap Sciences has re-engaged the area as a place to be. The opening up of the quayside has also given the fit joggers, roller bladers, skate boarders and cyclists a longer run for their euro too. Plus, I noticed that there were some new little take away style eateries being set up on the Quai de Baclan between the tram stops Cours du Medoc and Bassin à Flot.

On my late Monday morning in Bordeaux I resisted my deep feelings of jogger envy and slowly walked with a weary gait from one tram stop to another. The sun was already quite hot and I needed somewhere to rest up and eat. In doing so I spied a restaurant that looked a typically French place to have some lunch and dropped into the Au Bouchon des Chartrons – Chez Olivier situated at 52 Quai de Baclan. Olivier the owner explained that the 'resto' wasn't open until midday so I had half an hour to wait. I went down to the next tram stop and sat for thirty minutes in the sun watching the world go by. As in any language things get abbreviated and I had noticed that a few places the word restaurant had been fore-shortened to 'resto' and I even saw a bike shop called Bordo Velos!

Once returning to Au Bouchon des Chartrons the waiter, Pierre, took me under his wing and guided me inside to a little table by the door. There were already two French women at the table next to me who looked like they had met up for lunch. The cosy interior was small with a nice little bar and various artefacts hanging on the wall including an old bike, some sepia portraits, two or three old caps of the gendarme style and a faded blue postman's jacket on a hanger. It looked like years ago the postman had left it there and forgot to return. There was an unopened bottle of red wine on each table costing 36Ɛ. I declined any offer of wine, bottle or glass. You could say that I bottled out!

I settled instead for a local beer brewed in Bordeaux – bierre Alienor. It was a blonde beer very like  a Belgian or Dutch beer.

The menus were on two chalk boards – one for the prix-fixe lunch menu and one other very in depth and out of my money league price wise. I did begin to wonder if I had made a steak mistake. The charismatic Pierre sat on the step next to the door and lovingly went through all of the delicious sounding dishes (I'm sure roast saddle of rabbit was mentioned) all chalked up with love from the kitchen. It was all in French and I believe he was explaining that some of the dishes weren't on offer and others had certain items as replacements. He left me to ponder. Whilst pondering I began to realise that the smaller board was 'the menu' not an advertisement for something unseen. I chose the menu complet choice. This included a starter, a steak cooked à point (my choice) and a dessert.


I wished I had written them down and then I could have been more informative in describing my meal. Unfortunately the board had already been whisked away to show other diners outside. It was getting very busy and the friendly Pierre seemed to revel in his job whizzing back and forth between tables. The starter was a yummy plate of spiced potato cakes and some salad and the steak was to die for! That is if you like it quite bloody as I do. It was a decent thickness of sirloin with a mouth watering char grilled surface. I was relishing every mouthful and the brown chips (cooked in duck fat) were piping hot. Il ètait vachement bien! I was taking my time so much I had to order another beer just to extend this love affair with my steak. So much in love was I with this bouchon Chez Olivier that I almost forgot about my blisters. The discerning carnivore in me was a very happy bunny.

Of course that time comes when you have to pay and the whole lot came to just under 30Ɛ. That was probably the most I have ever spent on a lunch, holiday or not, but it was definitely worth it.

Cow Street!!!
By the time evening came around I was eager for another sit down and something to eat. I found myself wandering the streets looking for somewhere to inspire me and not hurt my pocket too much. I looked and looked down all the side streets – one place on the rue des remparts looked promising but was just closing. Plenty of tapas style bars looked equally inviting but I wasn't sure how they operated and was nervous of the potential cost. They seemed very popular with the locals and big friendly groups of people were clearly having a good time behind the slightly steamed up windows but just like Rita in Educating Rita I felt nervous about joining the party of strangers all fluent in French.

Onwards and upwards I happily, but hungrily, stumbled until I came to the top of the cours d'intendance and the scent of grilling meat lured me into the steak house chain Hippopotamus.

I was happy just to sit again for a while and was quickly served by the very active and pleasant hostess from whom I ordered the steak bavette with some fresh salad and of course, a pint of cold lager Heineken beer. In English we know bavette as beef skirt, a fibrous cut more often used at home as a very tender stewing steak that is also very good for making a curry with. The French also use this cut sliced on the diagonal as a good frying steak. It was very tender and had a delicious charcoal grill bite to it like the steak in the afternoon.

Before I wrote this blog post today I had a look on the internet on the Trip Advisor site for some idea of what other customers had though of the service. Some of the reviews were good but those from back in December and November 2014 were quite critical of the slow service and the allegedly uninspiring quality of the food. They were predominantly from French people and their groups. This wasn't my experience and the hostess even took time to listen to my questions about the entrecôte steaks. I would go there again to be sure.

I had left my camera at the hotel so I wasn't able to take any pictures of my meal but these images from their website give a good impression of what was on offer steak-wise.

#Bordeaux #BordeauxFrance

Sunday, 24 May 2015

An exciting visit to the marché de Capucines in Bordeaux

With the blisters now pretty much healed up to the point of having almost forgotten the pain I cannot believe it is almost a week ago on a Sunday evening (17th May) when I cautiously hobbled into the marché de Capucines for a quick nose around after picking up some plasters for my ailing and stinging feet.

It was about four in the afternoon and the indoor market was closing down most of its stalls with the exception of a couple of tapas style bars which seemed to be doing tremendous business with all the locals gathering for a late socially exciting Sunday afternoon nibble and tipple. Now there's a good name for a tapas bar n'est pas? - Nibble & Tipple © Phil Lowe 2015.

Having read a little about this very much alive local market where the folk of Bordeaux flock to buy their foodstuffs at decent prices and embrace their constant French  food lover's philosophy of purchasing produits avec fraicheur – fresh products - I became keener than ever to return on the following Tuesday. Well I didn't have a huge amount of choice as Saturday had already passed by, on Monday the market was closed and I was due to go home on the Wednesday.

Marché de Capucines is named after an order of monks called Les Capucines (lay cap – oo – san ) who alongside their religious beliefs dedicated their lives to looking after the poor. It lays between the districts (quartiers) of Victoire and St Michel both quite grey run down areas with high immigrant and student populations. The districts have great character but are decidedly down at heel. Perfect for architectural street photography with remnants of old France in the buildings and street furniture but perhaps not quite so perfect for hanging around after dark. Maybe I am being overly cautious.

Like any market in the world a Tuesday perhaps isn't the best day to see the market at its most vibrant but at least it transpired that I could get an agreeable impression without the massive Saturday crowds blocking out my viewing and photography chances.

I returned to the market on the Tuesday about 8.30am prior to my having my own breakfast. I wanted to photographically capture something of the working market early in the day. Perhaps I would have been better arriving at 4am when the market stall holders actually begin their working day. Then on reflection, how would I explain my appearance so early in the day with my limited French?

With a mix of charm, bravery and necessity I spoke to a girl on one of the meat counters explaining, in simple French, my own past in the butchery business and interest in French food and culture and my desire to take some photos of the meat products and their counter generally. She called to the boss and he acceded my requests and interest but never ventured out of his interior office to say “Bonjour” to the English butcher chappie.


I was very interested to witness all their different meat products on one counter. I say this because I was always under the, perhaps false impression, that the French butchery system was divided very clearly into a boucherie (beef, lamb and perhaps some fowl) and a completely separate business for charcuterie (primarily pork related with curing and smoking as a strong commercial interest). However in Céline and Christophe Gazeau's business I witnessed everything across the various butchery lines. Wasn't overly sure about the stuffed fox on the top of their counter but they probably have their reasons! Maybe it was once a friend of the family. It did have a happy smile for a fox.

Elsewhere in the market I saw a beautiful line of cured hams from Bayonne with little cups under each to collect the oils as it air dried in situ. Plus there was another tiny stall just selling les volailles de basse-cour (farmyard fowls). It had a small selection of quails, ducks, pheasants and Bresse chickens scattered among the pretend grass and peculiar tumble down ornaments seemingly left over from Easter.

All of the fresh meat was well presented with some long rib joints of beef, a loin of veal, (cote filet de veau) complete unboned and prepared shoulders, legs and cutlets of salt marsh grazed lamb and intricately strung joints of boneless shoulder of pork for roasting. Plus there were whole ribs of pork on display rather than pre-cut chops. Presumably this was so that the côtelettes de porc could be cut by the butcher as required. The yellow skinned farm chickens (poulet des fermiers) were all from the local Des Landes area and sans abats (without giblets). They also sold Marie Hot duck legs at 8.90 euros per kilo. These were fresh as opposed to in kept in duck confit. Interestingly there was also a massive soft brown calves' liver that sat in shiny prominence on one of the pure white trays that held the various cuts. Once again this appeared to be a 'slice as required' product.
best fish counter


The best fish counter was doing a good trade considering the time of day and there were a big variety of fish and shellfish on offer including dorade commune, grodin rouge, flétan, local eels, racasse, mullet, chapon, and loup de mer. As expected the more oily fish such as anchois and les harengs and the bright vibrant greens and blues of macquereaux sat temptingly on the flakes of ice. There were also local specialities such as tuna from the Basque ports and oysters from the bay at nearby Arcachon. The fishmongers must get up phenomenally early as they would need to buy and collect their stock from the wholesale markets known as criées. The seafood is auctioned early and then distributed to the towns and cities before daybreak. On the Sunday visit I saw the firm and sweet huîtres ( European oysters) being totally enjoyed, if not gulped down, by the plateful by the locals. I have yet to try these delights and felt slightly nervous of giving them a go whilst on holiday in France just in case they had a bad effect on my stomach.
taken on the Sunday

taken on the Sunday
There were plentiful fruit and vegetable stalls both inside and outside of the market building and I tried to take a (rather blurred from a hasty photographic execution) picture of a stunningly verdant herb stand. I'd never seen anything like that in England. Maybe the Borough Market in London may feature something similar but for me this was an exciting novelty.

There may well have been bread stalls but, in my explorations, I don't recall actively seeing them. That certainly doesn't mean they don't exist in this market. My other intention was to make a video of my visit but with the relative quietness of this Tuesday morning and the lack of bustle I felt it better to do a couple of circumnavigations, take some photos and do my best to chat to the stall holders on what appeared to be the most exciting stalls. I hope you have enjoyed my reflections on my visit.

À mon avis ça vaut le pein. In my opinion its worth the effort. I believe there is even live jazz music on a Saturday! You just don't get that in a supermarket.

#Bordeaux #BordeauxFrance