Pardon My French: El Mercadito Francés

NOTE: This market will be closed as of Saturday, October 20, 2012 due to the closing of Le Bouchon and will be opening in a new location. They are appearing in different locations, meanwhile. Check their Facebook page for updates: https://www.facebook.com/groups/227532844004229/

I’d heard about the new Saturday ‘French market’ but was skeptical. It’s an alliance between savoir faire et savoir vivre claims the publicity. C’est bon. But is it good? The answer is a resounding “Oui!”

A small group of vendors of high level products, led by fromagier Olivier Bert set up tables in the pleasant, sunny patio of restaurant Le Bouchon, the rendez-vous point for the Franco-Mex community. Purveyors of breads and pastries, a Belgian chocolate maker, importers of wines and cheeses not available elsewhere, and the keeper of baskets of tempting (but pricey) Provençal sausages make for fun shopping and tasting. Quality is top level--because the crowd is French and KNOWS good food.

The good news for Polanco dwellers is that a fish monger is in residence – fresh fish is not readily available in this part of town. And Ricardo from Xochimilco presides over his table of fresh organic produce grown in his watery part of town. Ricardo is the organizer of De la Chinampa, a consortium of local growers who have few retail venues for their exquisite wares.

I loved the marché but perhaps savoir dépenser would be an apt description, for la vie belle doesn’t come cheap. I plunked down $300 for two smallish pieces of Morbier and St. Nectaire cheeses. But they were well worth the spurge, every bit as good as what I would (like to) buy at my beloved Parisian Marché Aligre (see my article). Price to quality here is fair.

Complimentary espresso is offered to shoppers, who are invited to sit at the bar and flirt, brasserie–style. Don your best black turtleneck, fake-smoke a Gauloise, and who knows, maybe you’ll hook yourself more than just a fish.

El Mercadito Francés
Saturdays from 9:30-1:30
El Patio de Le Bouchon, Julio Verne 102, corner of Virgilio, Polanco
The last market for this summer (2012) will be held July 14th - Bastille Day. The market will return in September. Meanwhile, visit the new San Angel branch: Jardín de la plaza Gran San Ángel Amargura 17 (parking in the plaza)


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