I belong to the Fragrance industry where every couple of years, a global conference is conducted by the World Perfumery Congress [WPC] where almost all global companies showcase their products, conduct presentations and present technical papers on various topics – all related to the Fragrance industry. From the beginning, the conference was usually conducted in Cannes, France but in recent times, a decision was taken to shift the venue for every conference.
Their last conference was held in a quaint little town in Normandy in France called Deauville. My father was attending the conference and I sort of wheedled him into letting me join him on the trip. My plans were however, not to attend the conference. I was on a exploration trip of the places around Deauville, the local culture and the food it had to offer (Yes, its always about food for me).
So, I decided to make Deauville my base and explore the local villages around there too apart from Deauville. I hope to speak about them in my next posts.
So, moving onto Deauville..It is a beautiful Sea-side resort town, almost completely walk-able and usually frequented by most of the Paris elite over the weekends. It is like a weekend getaway for Parisians as it is hardly about 3 hours away from the city.
Lining the beach is a beautiful display of Umbrellas that so sort of become the image of Deauville.
Lovely shops line the streets around cobbled paths. I do need to mention here that most of the shops are high-end brands, which isn’t surprising as it is meant to be a getaway for the French elite crowd.
So, anyway, I decided to explore Deauville on my 1st day in Normandy, having heard that a farmers market was scheduled to be set-up in town that day. Now that is one thing I cannot ever resist – Farmers markets. These are the places where the town speaks. The local culture, the local people, and the food – everything is out there and calling out to you.
So, walking by to the town square, I spot a lane that has completely been overtaken by local people marketing their produce – fresh vegetables, books, fish, cheese and even clothes.
The vegetables were some of the best I have ever seen. Beefsteak tomatoes were a wonder by themselves as were the box-full of Pink hued garlic.
A lady was selling fresh mushrooms – Portobello, button and a few others and my heart cringed. Never have I so longed for a place where I could actually buy all of these goodies and cook fresh stuff. Reminded me of my days in University in U.K. where I had a kitchen space to actually cook all the beautiful stuff that I could get from the local farmer market there. With a heavy heart, I moved on further and sank a bit more.
There were beautiful fresh fruits and berries being sold. Strawberries, blackberries, oranges, peaches and more were on display there and it was as it every single fruit was calling out to me. I couldn’t resist. I bought a small box of strawberries and believe me you; I have never tasted a berry so good in my life. Fresh, tart, juicy and one that leaves you absolutely speechless.
Moving on, there was an artisan baker too. Fresh breads, baguettes and more were on display.
A specialist fromagerie was marketing some local cheese and my favourite – Goats cheese with herbs. Emmental, Gryuere, Gouda and more too but my loyalties were with the Goats cheese.
A turn round and you could spot a small shop marketing fresh fish. Another turn and you had a local producer selling fresh Honey.
With all such beautiful stuff under one roof, you cannot miss out flowers. A flower shop selling fresh flowers and also some plants was round the corner.
I have been to quite a few farmer markets during my travels. Every market is special in its own way. The vibes, the energy that you experience is something that leaves an impact on the mind and it isn’t the same when you shop at super-markets. Super-markets are mechanical. Farmer markets have a heart and a soul that is solely their own.