Have you heard the tale of three cities? Allow me to divulge… Beyond borders, along sandy coastlines, you’ll find B.A.B. – Biarritz, Anglet, and Bayonne. Home to surfers – competitive and amateur – this triple threat vacation destination boasts in innumerable sporting events and non-aquatic recreation: upscale boutiques, live entertainment and casino complexes, summer festivals; and last, but not least, an ode to all that is supremely authentic in regional cuisine.
‘Bain de soleil,’ anyone? But, of course! Surf’s up, the sun’s out, and no French ‘séjour’ would be complete without flocking to the beach. Daily sunbathing session fulfilled, a continuance of – as they say – ‘joie de vivre’ persists with another highly anticipated rendez-vous. Not entirely the typical tourist, I exchange my beach tote for another carry-on as I fashionably prepare for an open-air meeting. Inclusive to my personalized itinerary, I make my way for a food-shopping excursion to the ‘marché fermier’ (farmer’s market) – ‘allons-y’, let’s go!
Happy trails, indeed! Canopies stretched and ranging in plenty, the unbeaten path is host to ripe “farm-fresh” favourites: fragrant doughnut peaches, vibrant charlotte strawberries, and honey melons. The best, however, is yet to come! Amidst the Pyrénées Mountains, the vast spread of Basque-inspired delicacies stands as a true testament to traditional fare, rich in flavour and culture. Also a gathering hotspot for foodies – native and foreign – the ‘marché’ encourages masses to mix and mingle, where the topic of conversation is consistent with these readily-available selects: ‘saucisson’ (genuine Basque Country salami), ‘croustade aux pommes’ (apple pie), ‘gâteau basque’ (pastry cream almond cake), a spectacle of olives and tapenades, in addition to Brebis and Chèvre artisan cheeses. Unique and incomparable to other markets, the use of homegrown ingredients coupled with age-old techniques contributes to the underlying essence, texture, and taste that’s evident in Basque cuisine – without a doubt, “Made in France!”
Food scoured and some devoured, I’d say my touristic work here is complete. Leaving this local market, I gain a renewed understanding of the expression, “you are ‘what’ you eat;” ‘where’ you eat is of equal value. After all, in Basque Country, a sought-after taste for freshness doesn’t get any more expedited than bottled crème fraîche. So go ahead – picky-eaters – be selective! And before you inquire, the answer is “yes!” This ‘refreshing’ chilled sour cream is both naturally-prepared, and ready for pick-up – ‘sur la table!’ On or off shore, my overall southern French experience has taught me this – life’s a beach! As such, be sure to soak up life’s endless splendours: swim, shop, explore, sleep and, before you repeat, definitely take time to eat – “B.A.B.-ulously!”
© DISHFUL, 2014. All Rights Reserved.