We set the alarm clock for 8:30 this morning and left the house without even eating breakfast. Why? To get to the "good" fish counter at the big hypermarché before all the good fruits de mer were taken.
Georges is in that crowd, somewhere. Now serving #59...
Oysters and other shellfish are often the choice for a special Christmas Eve dinner here, and the Garçon absolutely INSISTED we had to have crab, shrimp and oysters. No one here was about to argue with that! (But I noticed he stayed home in his pajamas while we dragged our sleepy butts out the door before the coffee had even kicked in. Oh, to be 12 again and have other people do the work.)
A hypermarché is just the French term for a very big supermarket, that also sells a small collection of inexpensive clothing, small appliances and household goods. Not quite a Target or a Walmart, but close.
But on a day like today, the "hyper" in hypermarché took on new meaning as we entered the building and I saw people literally SPRINTING towards the seafood and butcher counters, eager to get the best items while there was still a good selection left. I was surprised people weren't elbowing old ladies out of the way and running over small children with their grocery carts to get to the oysters... but the crowd wasn't quite at riot level, yet.
I don't "do" oysters so really couldn't get excited about this display.
We came away with our two giant crabs and some extra crab claws, two kinds of shrimp (large pink ones and tiny grey ones), some langoustines, and a box of oysters... PLUS a gigot d'agneau (leg of lamb) because apparently we want to eat until we burst. We got our champagne a few days ago. And there will be another Bûche de Noël, of course; we picked it up yesterday. Oh, wait, and then there are the 13 Desserts (a Provençal Christmas tradition, where you have a selection of fresh or dried fruits or nuts or little whatevers, but there have to be 13). There is enough food to feed eight but we're only going to be four. I'm planning to eat very lightly at lunch today. And for a few days afterward. I think I will wear my stretchy pants for dinner tonight.
But... we weren't quick enough to get the beef cheeks. Did you know cows have cheeks? I didn't. But the joue de boeuf is a cut of meat that I guess a lot of French people like; we tried a second supermarket and they were out of it, too, and all before 9:30 am. (I don't think were were planning to eat that as well tonight. Thank God.)
Which is why you have to get up pretty early in the morning in France if you want to beat the hyper French foodies to the marché.