The Roscoff Market - Quick Read


The Roscoff Market – in which our Editor describes his great baked bean trail across the Channel.

In the crazy world known as television, I once went to Brittany on business. In fact, the word "business" and what I and two colleagues got up to, are somewhat at odds.

We were filming a "pilot" - a sort of demo for a possible tv series about this French and English thing that's going on. Anyway, armed with some advice from the in-laws, I set off.

Wednesday 7.30 am. Roscoff. So there we were. Three of us, rather laden with kit and a large camera, striding off towards the market place at the quayside. I also carried a large bag full of a carefully prepared selection of English fare. Yes, I was about to offer the unsuspecting French population (well a tiny part of it anyway) the delights of Spam, Marmite, Jammy Dodgers and the great baked bean.

I set out the provisions lovingly on the tray and then the three of us set off to mingle. With bare-faced cheek, I approached poor unsuspecting French shoppers and asked them to taste my wares. The results were wonderful.

Take Marmite for example. (Interestingly Marmite is the French word for "pot".) Holding a rather forlorn piece of cracker, many would look at me with a piercing side-long gaze, deep with suspicion, and ask "Qu'est ce que c'est?" I would reply. More looks, as if to say "I suspect this is poison you are offering me, that will induce a long, slow and painful death".

There was mixed response to the baked beans and some pretty honest opinions about French food being so much better. The English fry-up got some votes though.

I didn't choose my goods wisely it seems. The English Farmers Market is much more switched-on these days. More cave matured cheddar and organic goats’ milk. Not a baked bean in sight. You can get them in French supermarkets anyway. Pah!