If you thought the French were terrible at queuing, think again. Not only do they have standing in line down to a fine art, but they show great patience at it, especially at a street market.
Place Sébastopol, at the top of our road, has a market every Saturday morning. It’s all meat, shellfish, cheeses, fruit and veg – and there is even one women who has a whole stall devoted to watercress. (She’s there very week, so clearly someone’s buying it.)
Rather unusually, you won’t find a tabard for love nor money, mind.
We decided to give the market a try for the food for our very first dinner party here in Lille. The vegetables were amazingly cheap – anything up to half the price of what you’d pay in the supermarket. A great slice of pumpkin, for example, came in at 80 cents, rather than the €2 we had seen in Carrefour.
We shopped around, choosing this from one stall and that from another.
But when it came to choosing our meat, there was clearly only one stall to go for: the one with the longest queue. (We’ve employed the same approach with our boulangerie – more about that another time.)
Damon gamely opted to stand in line… The butchers were cutting and preparing everything to order, so he waited a good 20 minutes to be served.
What he got was worth the wait, though. He was after pork loin, and what he came away with looked – and tasted – so much better than what we had seen elsewhere.
“When it came to choosing our meat, there was clearly only one stall to go for: the one with the biggest queue”
In case you’re interested, this was the menu, all fait maison:
- Amuse-bouche number 1: chanterelle served on a cube of truffled pumpkin
- Entrée: twice-baked goat’s cheese soufflé
- Amuse-bouche number 2: hot Bloody Mary soup
- Plat: pork loin stuffed with a pistachio pesto, served with rosemary parmentier potatoes and fennel
- Fromages: five French cheeses
- Dessert: apple tart served with lavender ice cream
The dinner party went well – we’ll definitely buy our food from that market again.
And the next time someone tells me the French are terrible at queuing, I’ll take them to the market with me.