Sunday, December 20, 2015

Christmas markets

Living in Europe is living in exotic lands, which oscillate between the boring quotidian and the fascinatingly foreign. Markets in the street? Bizarre, and probably an impediment to free circulation in my home zone. But here, a normal seasonal thing, as if the seasons still drove the production of agricultural products. As if we lived before electricity and refrigeration and quick, cheap transport.

But who can argue with this pile of cheeses?
The green, blue, and pink ones are worrisome.
"Look at these bountiful piles!" is the theme of the displays. As usual, all goods are sequestered by type, and each merchant has one extremely narrow specialty. This contributes to the quaint dissonance, the romantic peculiarity of being an immigrant.
Piles and piles, plus hanging from the roof.
The overall winter holiday cheer here is engaging and fun, with a usual French focus on the edible and drinkable delights. Roasted chestnuts, mulled cider and wine, cheeses and meats, waffles and crêpes. An entire hidden alley where children could sneak away to see animatronic animals (including that ever-present Christmas Octopus!) and a complementary alley where adults could sneak away to taste champagne and sautéed mushrooms. And of course, everywhere candy, interspersed with all other goods. It's a sugary season, for the eyes and tastebuds alike.

This post's theme word is decorticate, "to remove the outer layer, such as the bark, rind, husk, etc." Most preserved winter foods must be decorticated before mastication, ingestion, and digestion.

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