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!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Ups and downs

I was expecting to give you a view of the market through torrential rain and storms today, but we were all relieved to be out in almost perfect sunshine, so I am showing my new lime and coconut fairy cakes instead!
Unusually for me I arrived early at the market and so was ready to set up before my friendly veg man had turned up. Not wanting to block his parking space, I piled up all my stuff; table, parasol, cool box etc, and waited for him to arrive, fending off potential usurpers of his pitch and eventually apologising to his habitual early-bird clients for his late arrival, blaming it on possible flooding from the torrential rain storms of the previous night. Having given up on his arrival I set up my stall, and went to join the other traders for our early morning coffee and croissant in the cafe, that is where I learned the real reason for the friendly veg man's no-show. It seems that my friendly veg man has been a little more than 'friendly' with a certain lady for some time and that the night before his wife had confronted him about his mistress. After the inevitable row, he left to spend the night with his mistress and so of course there was no-one to get up at 5am to pick and prepare the vegetables for the market! I don't know what made me think that life in the country was all simplicity and innocence, It seems more complicated than 'desperate housewives' at times! Of course as you can imagine there were plenty of barbed comments relating to the relative sizes of cucumbers and the voracity of the live lobsters on the fish stall today!
Because of the uncertain weather we were quiet on the market today which left us all feeling a little strange, what with the absence of our friendly veg man, the wine and foie gras couple having decided that business isn't good enough to spend the time traveling to our market, and the sausage seller still on a three week spell on the Paris market circuit, where they make more money than in three months here; our little family felt quite diminished. The tourist season hasn't yet started properly and our little spa town has little to offer out of season visitors, so customers are hard to come by at the moment, hence my delight at being approached by the manager of the town's most chic hotel. She passed by a few weeks ago and was tempted by my lavender cakes. Having tried them, she came back for more and asked if I would be interested in supplying her hotel and it's associated health spa with cakes for their bar and cafe, of course I jumped at the chance and was even more pleased to be told that the hotel would be starting a series of early evening music and 'aperitif' evenings, and would like to add English tea and cakes to their repertoire. It seems that my infiltration of French tastes has started at last. Now, can I sell them some pretty pink cupcake coat hooks too do you think?

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