This month my friend and I made a pact: each day we would visit a new place in Nantes. Whether that be a store or café, a study spot or garden, we wanted to push ourselves to keep exploring our city during the second half of our time here.
On Wednesday, the new place we visited was a farmers market. The market is held every weekday morning in an indoor/outdoor vending area near Viarme (for those familiar with Nantes). It is larger on weekends and certain weekdays, when there are more vendors who come to sell their goods.
Personally, I’ve never been a farmers market fanatic. Though I always love the concept of them, and enjoy them once I’m there, something about going still feels as mundane to me as grocery shopping. However, the small group of friends I planned on meeting there gave me all the motivation I needed to put aside my preconceptions.
Upon stepping through the doors into the cool, airy interior of the building, I was immediately greeted with the highest tower of sea urchin and crab I have ever seen. I quickly took a picture to send to my mom, who always asks for uni when we go out to Mizu in Holland. This was just the start of the numerous treasures to be found in the market. Tables were piled high with bright fruits, vegetables, seafood, cheeses, and meats, all waiting for my attention.
As we continued walking, I began to embrace my curiosity for the gems we would find in each new stall. To our left a stack of slick anchovies. To our right freshly cut ravioli, small and pink as flower petals. Just ahead dried fruits, sugared to their core. These things weren’t complex culinary masterpieces, but they were the pure, simple details, and I wanted to taste them all.
My friends and I ended up buying a variety of nordic tartine, artichoke dip, goat cheeses, garlic shrimp, sweet dates, cinnamon apples, and, of course, a baguette to share for lunch. We lounged in the sun on the banks of the river, tearing bits of bread off with our hands and savoring our discoveries. I don’t know who was more grateful that I decided to step out of my habits that day, my mind or my stomach.