Have you ever wandered through a supermarket fruit and vegetable section, gazed at all the produce, but been completely clueless on what’s ‘en saison’? If you have, don’t worry – you’re probably not the only one!
Thanks to world-wide transportation, production, preservation and marketing networks, most products can now be found in supermarkets all year round.
For example, you might be able to find blueberries in the coldest depths of a northern hemisphere winter, but you can be sure that they’ve had a long journey all the way from South America to be there.
And their price tag will reflect that too – transatlantic travel costs of course mean that South American blueberries will be more expensive than local blueberries, picked and harvested when they are mature in our part of the world – that’s August and September in France.
French Markets, however, are quite unique and special.
One of the reasons we love them so much is they tend to stock just the freshest of seasonal produce – on these Markets, you can see the best of the Seasonal and Regional produce available. The Markets are packed with color and offer a stimulating sensory experience for visitors that will differ depending on the time of year and the location!
With many people shopping entirely at their local market, the French are well versed on their seasonal produce – they know what to buy and when and this is reflected in their cuisine throughout the seasons.
We think it would be great if everyone cooked more seasonally! So to help get you started on your seasonal culinary exploration, we’ve put together a calendar of what’s good and when (including some of the not-so-obvious French translations!).
One of the things we love about the Fall in France s that we start to see a beautiful selection of Roots - 'Légumes Racine' (Pannais, Tompinambour, Navet), a huge selection of Mushrooms (Chanterlle, Cèpes, Trumpet de la Mort, Pleurotes, etc) and tons of the items from the Squash family (Courge, Potimarron, Potiron) returning to the Market!
So if you're planning on going to the market during the next months, you will find below a little list of ideas of what you should put in your shopping basket.
One of the seasonl recipes we love, is based on Asparagus.
As we always tell those with us, use your creativity and make the recipe yours!
Here you have a guideline for a spring side dish or starter.
Let your taste buds be your guide, however, tell us what you decided to add and how it turned out !
Asperges Sauce Mousseline
800 g asparagus
250 g unsalted butter
4 tablespoons water
4 egg yolks
salt and white pepper
juice of 1/2 lemon
75 ml heavy cream, whipped
Make an Hollandaise sauce: Clarify the butter.
Whisk the water and egg yolks in a small pan with a little salt and pepper. Whisk over low heat or in a bain-marie until the mixture is thick enough for the whisk to leave a trail. The base of the pan must never be more than hand-hot. Remove from the heat and whisk in the tepid butter, a few drops at a time. As the sauce thickens the butter can be added faster. When all the butter is added, stir in the lemon juice and adjust the seasoning.
Add the whipped cream.
Clean the asparagus; tie them up together with kitchen string.
Cook in a large saucepan in salted boiling water.
Check with a knife.
To serve, arrange some asparagus on a plate and top with some Sauce Mousseline.