Friday, August 8, 2008

The Friday Night Market in Léran

People swarm into Léran any July or August Friday. If you live here, you don't plan on doing anything else. I'm talking about the marché gourmand, also known as the marché nocturne. A barrier stops traffic from entering the main street. Beyond it are people at stalls and tables selling all you need to put supper together.

Think of it as one enormous communal dinner party. Long tables covered with paper cloths run the end of the street. Everyone grabs a green-painted metal folding chair and squeezes in beside their neighbours and friends. I've never counted heads but easily over a hundred sit down and break bread together. (The village boulangerie brings baguettes and fougasses including a Roquefort version). A local wine-maker opens bottles of red or rosé--it's not sold by the glass--but when the price is four euros a bottle...

Tonight, not for the first time, we line up for strips of grilled magret (duck breast) cooked over charcoal, and frites. On top goes a big spoonful of persillade--garlic and parsley chopped together--pungent enough to make your eyes water. If you want to make it yourself, try equal proportions.

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