If Terence Conran could sell French country style to the English in the 20th century, why shouldn't I sell English patisserie to the French in the 21st century?
If only it were that easy. I hadn't reckoned on French bureaucracy, weather and good old xenophobia. But hey, life on the traditional French markets is full of surprises so I thought I should share them with the wider world.
After 20 years living in the centre of uber style-conscious London, I shipped out to live in the rural bliss of west central France, leaving all semblance of chic and style behind me together with my manicured nails to live in muddy boots and ripped jeans to work on the 'renovation of our French country ruin'. Eventually finding a need for contact with humanity in whatever form, I came upon the idea of selling fairy cakes to the French. Only problem was; I didn't have a kitchen!
This blog will be a document to the success, or otherwise of my enterprise along with the tales, trials and emotional rollercoasters of life on the market in France. I hope you will enjoy.......

quintessentially English

quintessentially English
........but in France!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Things are hotting up!

It seems that at last summer is on it's way back to France. I caught my first 'coup de soleil' (sunburn) today whilst sitting next to the fountain by my market stall gossiping with the girls on a slow early morning start. It sounds idyllic I know, and it would be if France wasn't in the middle of the Euro crisis, but at the moment hands are staying resolutely in pockets and there isn't much cash to be seen on the market. Lucky for me that the French have a sweet tooth and food is always considered a priority purchase, especially when it is pretty and sweet.
The sun shone and my mini Victoria sandwiches were in serious danger of toppling over with their butter icing oozing out in the warmth. This did nothing to put off my die-hard local cake fans who are loyally coming back week after week to bravely try each new invention I put before them. The local French inhabitants fall into two camps regarding English cuisine. Firstly the 'Don't touch it if it's not French - it might kill you' crowd and then the Anglophiles who have either visited England , have family living there or simply wish they could visit, so my cakes fulfill a little English fantasy at the same time as tasting good! If the good weather continues I will try adding iced green tea to my range as there is nothing like it with a slice of Lemon and a fairy cake to replenish the energy levels!
With the spring sunshine romance is sure to follow, and so my girlfriends on the market have decided to cash in by starting a speed dating business. This is nothing new on the rest of the planet but here it's a really big deal! Rural France isn't the ideal place to find a partner at the best of times so the girls set up a session in the local town for 40-55 year olds which was a roaring success. The next session was for a younger age group and I did try to persuade my amorous fishmonger to sign up but no luck in getting rid of him that way! (see previous post)
When the girls put flyers out around town, one found it's way to the local newspaper and hey presto! they had a call from the journalist asking for an interview and giving them loads of free publicity! Initially he wasn't sure if they had targeted his car because he was a journalist or because they guessed he was single, either of which could be a good enough reason, but either way, as the girls said afterwards, the quality of participants was so much better for the second session, they almost wanted to join in themselves , (which might not be a bad idea for one of them, who is already in a pretty turbulent 'menage a trois' style romance) and now they are waiting for wedding invites and the opportunity to buy new dresses for the parties they will be invited to!
The spirit of enterprise is alive and kicking here in the sticks, despite the infamous French red tape, and all power to those who are getting off their backsides to optimise their assets!

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