As the sun becomes lower in the sky and the temperatures start to drop, nature’s larder ramps up its deliveries. With harvests in full swing, there’s no better time to browse through a French market and pick up some early autumn treats. Here’s the French Department for Agriculture’s monthly guide to what’s at its seasonal best in France right now…
With their subtle onion flavour, leeks are fantastic sautéed in butter with a dash of white wine and a small spoonful of Dijon mustard to bring out the flavour. Look out for the Label Rouge poireau des sables and leeks from Créances IGP, which have a long white barrel with a slight nutty taste.
White, purple or green, there are many different colours of cauliflower to brighten up your dishes. Try it steamed whole and then roasted in the oven with a cumin mayonnaise.
Before the arrival of the potato, the turnip was one of the staples of the French diet. At the end of summer, it is beautifully sweet and juicy. The different varieties (Nancy, Milan, Croissy…) offer gorgeous shades of white, purple and purple on the plate.
Classified PGI since 1995, the mirabelle plum from Lorraine has a very short season so make the most of it while you can! Lorraine has 200 producers who cultivate 400,000 trees.
September is, of course, the time for apples. In France, look out for the Savoie (PGI) and the Limousin (PDO) in particular.
It’s also peak blackberry season. Among the varieties you’ll find on market stalls in France are the Black Pearl and the Himalaya.
Grey shrimp is caught in the Bay of Biscay, the western Mediterranean and the English Channel. Its flesh is fragile, so it must be eaten quickly after being caught. On the market stall, its iodised smell is the clue which guarantees freshness.
The ray is also worth looking out for. It’s great cooked in a broth, and goes well cold in a salad of white beans with a herb vinaigrette.