Thursday morning is always market day in Ambert, a charming old town here in the Auvergne. Vendors come from all over the region to set up their stalls along narrow, winding streets and Ambert's famous round town hall.
Predictably, the produce couldn't be fresher, from the cheese to the meats to the strawberries. The variety of products is amazing and puts the New York Greenmarkets to shame. Ask a vendor about his products and he will launch into a five minute lecture about how it was grown, when it will ripen, and, for good measure, tell you how to prepare it, recipe and all.
Want a mellon to eat today and one to eat tomorrow? Well, just ask and the vendor will squeeze and smell a few, until he has found what you need. "I will put the one which is ripe enough for today's lunch in the bag with your green beans" he will tell you. "Now don't forget." I won't.
And for dessert? Who can resist a slice from a huge chunk of fresh nougat? This stuff is not rock hard like from the store. Non, non. It is soft and creamy and sinfully good.
How difficult it is to show constraint under these circumstances.