Included in the items on my shopping list for France were Amora mustard, Veuve Clicquot and butter. EU or not, Dijon style mustard and Veuve Clicquot are a lot more expensive in Germany; 43 Euros for the Veuve as compared to 32. The only decent butter I’ve found here is Irish, not bad, but it still can’t compare to the butter from Haute Savoie, Beurre du Faucigny or Echire from Roger’s neck of the woods.
The weirdest thing happened when I bought the butter. Beurre du Faucigny is not available in the supermarkets but can be found at the cheese stalls in the farmers’ market. I went to the cheese stall formerly owned by M. Parret and now owned by a pleasant young couple from the area because even though Parret doesn’t own it anymore, it still bears his name and loyalty seems to be involved. In other words, everyone in the market would tell if I went to another cheese stall :)
Anyway, I greeted the new owner and asked for 10 blocks of Faucigny. I kid you not, he said, “But that’s almost all of my butter!” and turned to look at his wife as if I’d asked for a free Brie de Meaux or something. He shuffled around behind the counter for a while, wringing his hands and looking almost frightened or frightening. This was obviously a case of temporary market insanity that I’ve heard of but never witnessed; stall owner refuses to sell his wares. I stepped a little away from the counter, Roger, but held out my basket. No way I was leaving France without that butter! I told M. Parret about this and he just laughed and gabbled something about the butter maybe being the last of his stock??!! Seems to me that would be desirable; “Look honey, we’ve sold all the Faucigny! Foie gras tonight!” M. Parret says that a new mega market, Autun, has opened up on the road to Auxerre and along with Carrefour, Leclerc and Grand Frais is threatening the market stall owners’ income. And maybe their sanity? Well, he sold me the butter but maybe I had started to look frightening myself :D
With my husband arriving on Saturday, I decided to make cotriade http://cookinginsens.wordpress.com/2011/10/30/cotriade-glorious-fish-soup-from-bretagne/ and have dinner with the Parrets. There’ll be no pictures of the cotriade or the Parrets because I completely loss my temper and patience taking pictures of the tarte, of which I’m not proud, using Jade’s tripod. Ugly pictures, good tasting tarte.
Easy Fig Tarte Tatin
8 tbsp butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 lb figs, halved
1 pre-rolled pie crust (pate brisee)
Melt the butter in the bottom of an oven proof tart pan. Remove from the flame and sprinkle on sugar. Place the figs, cut side down, on top of the sugar, return to a medium high flame and cook until the sugar has caramelized, about 10-15 minutes.
Place the pie crust on top and, with the handle of a wooden spoon, poke the overhang down into the inside of the pan. Poke a few holes in the pastry with a fork.
Bake the tart in a 375 F oven for about 30-40 minutes until the pastry has browned. Place a serving plate on top of the baking pan and quickly flip over.