The Weekly Shop: southern French sunshine and probably, at some point, snails

Chicken and seafood paella
Chicken and seafood paella from the market at Olonzac

Greetings from Languedoc-Rousillon in the south of France, where the sky is bright blue and the sun is shining on a lunch-table laden with fresh baguettes and unsalted butter, goats’ cheeses and thick, cured sausages flavoured with porcini mushrooms.  My husband B, the Mini Dietz and I travelled down here together by car last week, stopping overnight along the way to stay at a crumbling old chateau, an organic pig farm and a friend’s beautiful house north-east of Toulouse.

The three of us arrived here in a tiny village called Olonzac, 40 minutes from the Mediterranean coast on Saturday after visiting a schoolfriend I’ve not seen in 20 years, who lives in the middle of absolutely nowhere with her French partner and their two daughters.  She laid on a homegrown, homemade feast for us, including mixed tomato salad; purple striped aubergines (eggplant) stuffed with garlic and goats’ cheese; and homemade chocolate cake with locally-produced pistachio ice cream, and then sent us on our way with a bag stuffed full of homegrown vegetables and homemade tomato sauce (she has tens of litres of the stuff, having stocked up for winter).

We’re heading to Lautrec later this week for a wedding, but in the meantime we’re enjoying every second of our temporary French country village life.  We’ve swum in the nearby lake and run quickly in and out of the surprisingly chilly Mediterranean sea; and this morning I spent a very long time prodding local fruit and vegetables at the village market, which had landed, conveniently, right on our doorstep, also selling local honey and cheeses, olives, seafood and wine.  There’s a German saying for when one is living a very good, extremely contented life: Leben wie Gott Im Frankreich – “to live like God in France”.  The Germans aren’t wrong.

I’ve stayed well clear of the internet whilst we’ve been here, and will continue to do so till we’re home (though I’ve a couple of posts scheduled to appear before then – fingers crossed that works!).  So, there are no links from me this week, and there’ll probably be none next weekend either, but there’ll undoubtedly be a bumper crop on my return.

In the meantime, I hope you’re all enjoying August, wherever it is you are…