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!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Sunshine and flowers

This week I remembered some of our reasons for moving to France. The sun is shining again and the ground is warming up so quickly compared with the English island soil. Local farmers are charging about on fifty year old tractors, cutting , turning and drying hay in such a short period it baffles me, having been used to my childhood haymaking taking forever, with showers outweighing the sunshine! My drive to the market takes me down a little winding lane, and this week it was a veritable explosion of wild flowers, all mixed in with roadside crops and blue skies. So, that's why I'm here!

Despite the idyllic wildflower-filled journey, my time on the market wasn't quite so uplifting. This week my two girlfriends and morning coffee partners have decided to leave our market for the summer season and migrate to their respective costal origins, so our ritual coffee was the last until September! Symptomatic of the French financial malaise; our little market seems to be slowly diminishing, less tourists, less money and fewer traders. The picture of a row of bored bums, epitomises our lack of trade,how often should you see a group of traders all sat in a row doing nothing at eleven o'clock on a sunny market day!

Luckily for me, the French still love their stomachs and cakes form part of their essential shopping list, so although my sales are not soaring as I had expected with the start of the summer season, I still have my loyal clients who are hooked on butterfly cakes and chocolate brownies!

As promised here is a picture of the famous chocolate and mint cream cakes that were such a success last week ( I photographed them quickly this time!) They have inspired a local English lady to order three big victoria sandwich cakes for her birthday party this weekend, so I am pleased that I can bring a little memory of home to someone!

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