We had heard from multiple sources that the market of Tarbes is worth a visit. Allegedly, they have fair prices. This we wanted to see for ourselves and today is the day. We have visited many markets over the past few months, and all of them were extremely pricy. Not at all what we were expecting, but so much so that it took the fun out of visiting markets.
As we arrive inTarbes en get nearer to the market, we notice that there are cars parked everywhere. Apparently, this market is very popular. However, we are lucky (as usual), and find a space in the shade at 7 minutes (on foot) from the market.
The first stall we happen upon sells fruits and vegetables. And loo and behold, not only are the prices reasonable, they’re even low compared to everywhere else! Wanting to see as much as possible before we buy anything, we stroll on, in search of haricots tarbais.
These are large white beans that are grown in the region around Tarbes. Traditionally, they are grown side by side with mais. This allows the bean-plants to climb into the mais stalks. Nowadays however, they are mostly grown along plastic netting.
Yesterday, we visited a farmer who cultivates the beans. They sell them at € 11 if you buy at least 5 kg. Or € 12 if you buy 2 to 5 kg, or € 15 if you buy less than 2 kg. Odette, the neighbour at the other side of the road, had said that they can be found for € 8 per kg, so we hadn’t bought them yesterday. Let’s hope we will find them here at a better price.
The market of Tarbes: les halles
Many French cities and villages have a big indoor space with a permanent or weekly market, called “les halles”. Tarbes is no exception, and that’s where we are directed by a local looking couple when we ask where we might find haricots tarbais.
We enter the hall and quickly scan the place. It looks good. As we start walking past the stands we become more and more enthused. There’s a wide variety of fresh foods on offer, and the prices are extremely reasonable. Very soon, we find haricots tarbais for € 10 per kg, no matter how much (or little) you buy. So we buy 2 kg; half a kg for ourselves and the rest to give away to family and friends. And here our first cooking result:
But that’s only the beginning. We stock up on vegetables, fruits, cheese, wine and bread. And have a lovely time doing so. For both the sellers and the buyers are relaxed and friendly. Really a great joy. It’s only a 15 minute drive by car from our current home, so we’ll probably be back there next Thursday and the Thursdays after that.
We return home at noon, extremely satisfied. After putting everything away, we have a lovely lunch of fresh bread and cheese and many other nice things.
Figs and walnuts
After spending a couple of frustrating hours behind the computer (no need to elaborate on that), we cross the street to Odette. For she has a walnut- and a fig tree and she told us we can take as much walnuts and figs as we like. So we gather a bag full of walnuts and one full of ripe figs. We’re going to make fig-chutney. And possibly other delicious things. You can’t taste stuff through a blog, so you’ll just have to look at the pictures 🙂