This is a post with nothing to do about cycling. Well, other than the fact that I’ll have burnt about 6000 calories yesterday on my six-col ride (should I count ‘colories’?) and I need to eat plenty of food, and Die market is a good place to start.
The market takes place twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, all year round. I suppose that I’d categorise the stalls into three types: those selling overpriced tat to visitors; those selling speciality foods; those selling staple foodstuffs.
Through the winter months there are fewer tat-sellers, though there are still a few doing the rounds of all the outdoor markets in the area. But the heart of the market comprises the food sellers, ranging from speciality meats (including pork and beef produced on the Vercors plateau, trout from local rivers and duck from local farms) to the several stalls of fruit and veg. The Drôme Valley is quite a centre for organic (‘biologique’ or ‘bio’) food production, and though the produce does usually come at some premium, it’s certainly not a niche market: you will have plenty of choice.
At this time of year, you might get confused and think that you are in Holland: the population of Die increases three- or four-fold, and the vast majority of these tourists are Dutch. They seem to come en masse for the five weeks of their school summer holidays, but, though their custom must be central to the economy of Die, there is something nice once the market returns to the locals (and people like me, whose holidays finish right at the end of August). The market remains outdoors for the whole of the year – it can be quite entertaining watching the stallholders’ resilience in the midst of a winter storm.
If you go often you are bound to find your favourite stalls, whether that’s because of price, quality of product, or friendliness of the sellers. I certainly try to get down there at least once a week, if for no other reason that the seasonal food is plentiful and therefore cheap. And, in comparison with supermarkets, the fruit is often ripe enough to eat on the day, which means it needs to be sold.
My pleasures at this time of year: local peaches, nectarines, apricots, tomatoes and melons. If they don’t have a many calories in as some foods, it just means that I have to eat even more of them. In fact, it would be rude not to anyway.
For the record, today’s food purchases: peaches (white/yellow), nectarines, grapes, onions, garlic, apricots, melon, potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, chicken breast, and cheese. All local produce. And it all fitted in my rucksack for the ride home.