Les Halles Dijon

One of the things we loved most when we were in France was our picnic style dinners. If we’d had a proper lunch, rather than go out to eat in the evening we’d buy a baguette, some charcuterie, a cheese or two, maybe some rillette, and of course wine. Rather than eat, we’d graze and drink wine and talk and laugh.

Where possible we’d pick up our food from markets or local stores rather than supermarkets so it would all be locally produced.

One of the best markets was this one – Les Halles in Dijon.

We visited this market as the first part of a day cooking with someone I’ll introduce you to next week – Alex Miles. Alex is an expat New Yorker who we spent a fabulous day with – but that’s for next week.

The ironwork of these markets have a touch of the familiar about them – that would be because the building is said to have been designed by Gustave Eiffel. Yes, the same Eiffel. He was born here – in Dijon. As to whether he designed it? Well, that’s less clear. I’ve read some references that state his designs were rejected or there was confusion – it all sounds very French. In any case, Gustave was soon busy designing a little tower somewhere else instead…you might have heard of it?

Was he involved with Les Halles? I’d like to think so. Of course, I could do more research, but hey, it’s been a messy week at work.

None of that takes away from the fact that this is a fabulous building – and an even better market.

French markets are a snapshot of the life and food of that region, and in Burgundy, that means dishes such as coq au vin, boeuf bourguignon, jambon persillé (ham cured with parsley), oeufs en meurette (eggs poached in a red wine sauce) and, of course, escargots.

Burgundy is also famous for its blackcurrants distilled into liqueur de cassis – the essential base of the French aperitifs Kir (cassis with white wine) and Kir Royale (cassis with champagne).

All of that was at this market. We, however, were there to buy cheese, vegetables and rabbit for the lunch we’d be preparing back at Alex’s apartment

From here I’ll let the pics tell the rest of the story… There were spices and fruits…

cheeses…so many cheeses…

and other dairy – although as I think I’ve already said, the French tend not to drink milk.

Artichokes and asparagus…

and mushrooms…oh how I loved the mushrooms.

Veggies and bread in the outside stalls…

And flowers…although the dog was not for sale – he was very cute.

Then we took everything that we’d purchased back to Alex’s apartment and cooked a relatively simple veggie dish that tasted of spring on a plate.


Vegetables in Puff Pastry

This is more of an idea than a recipe – as, indeed, the best recipes are. Alex cut some squares of puff pastry from some he’d made earlier, brushed them with a little egg wash, and popped them in the oven pre-heated to about 200C. Cook them for about 10mins or until they puff up nice and golden.

Use any veggies you want – we used carrot, celeriac, green beans, squash, asparagus and mushrooms. To prepare the veg, peel and cut the celeriac and carrots into matchstick pieces, top and tail the beans…you know the drill.

Cook the veg in boiling salted water in order of firmness and cook until almost done eg the carrots will take about 10 minutes, then add the celeriac, then the beans. The idea is to keep the colour and some firmness.

Drain and cool the vegetables in cold water to stop the cooking process.

Clean the mushrooms. Cut them into thick pieces and place them in a non-stick pan. Cook them, with no oil or butter, under a low flame till most of the water that they release has evaporated.

Add the cold, cooked vegetables and heat through with butter. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot with the cooked puff pastry.


It’s Lovin’ Life Linky time…

It’s Thursday, so it’s time to look for our happy and share it about a bit. The Lovin’ Life Linky is brought to you by Team Lovin’ Life: Deep Fried Fruit, DebbishSeize the Day ProjectWrite of the Middle50 Shades of Age,  and, of course, me.

18 Replies to “Les Halles Dijon”

  1. Hi Jo, gorgeous photos and I’m travelling through France with you in my armchair! We did this in Spain and went to the central markets in Barcelona. There is something about a picnic dinner isn’t there? The food looks amazing and all those cheeses – my husband would be in heaven. Thanks for sharing x

    1. We love the picnic style meals. It’s cost effective, you’re still eating locally & you don’t need to get dressed up. Plus you can’t go to markets and not buy anything – it’s all too tempting.

    1. I love bringing home recipes and reliving the flavours – and very often the simple things are the best.

  2. I’m loving your France posts Jo! My vicarious travels continue! Gorgeous photos and those markets! Wow! Of course I’m loving that little dog too – so cute. Love the veggie recipe idea at the end. Very interesting about Gustave Eiffel! Never even knew there was a Gustave Eiffel but now I do! You’re teaching me stuff! #TeamLovinLife

    1. The things you learn, Min…come vicariously travelling with me and wait for the trivia to flow on in!

    1. So agree. It’s all about eating fresh and eating locally – very easy to do in regional France.

    1. As my 20 year old would say – soz not soz…lol… We pretty much followed the food and wine train around country France.

  3. French markets are incredible. Those varieties of mushrooms are fascinating – with the curled edges. Simple food like baguettes with cheese and cured ham always tastes better when you’re actually in France I’ve found.

  4. Meh, not a fan of mushrooms but like the idea of a picnic =- though it’s not something I do enough. Of course I’m kinda content with a bag of chips and some chocolate. And wine or champagne, but making a bit more of an effort can be lovely!

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