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Feb 18, 2011 01:18 PM

Eating local and seasonal foods in Burgundy, markets

I will traveling through Burgundy in mid - late March. I've sorted out how to visit as many markets as possible in the towns I'm visiting: Dijon, Autun, Beaune, Semur-en-Auxois, Avallon, Montbard and Vézelay. Unfortunately I won't have access to a kitchen, so I will need to purchase foods I can picnic on without much preperation. In addition to the markets, I like to go to local bakeries, charcuteries and cheese shops. Anyone have a favorite shop in these towns?

Late March may not be the best season for produce--can anyone advise me what will be in season?

I'd like to try as many local foods as possible. I know about the mustard, wine/kir, escargots, boeuf bourguignon, honey and jambon persillé. What else shouldn't I miss?

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  1. "I know about the mustard, wine/kir, escargots, boeuf bourguignon, honey and jambon persillé. What else shouldn't I miss?"

    Try to get oeufs meurette in restos or in good traiteurs, a starter dish.
    Epoisses is seen more often from late April onward, dommage.
    In late March, - more toward early April, - asparagus should be coming to the markets.
    March is not a seaon of abundant vegetables and fruit. You should be able to find nice crosnes and morels.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Parigi

      Thank you Parigi!

      I've looked at some pictures of the markets and see some delicious looking sauages there. Are the sausages usually raw or are they ready to eat?

      1. re: Henrietta Stackpole

        Very simple and yet always a question. Saucisson sec are dry sausage that are ready to eat. Saucisse are not cooked and need to be.

        David Lobovitz has a pretty good tutorial on the differences.

        1. re: mangeur

          If I may allow myself, David's tutorial makes the matter more complicated than it really is.
          The only problem is not French terminology but that there is only one word in English (sausage) to name a variety of things.

          Saucisse is a sausage of relatively small diameter (from thin saucisse sèche to thicker saucisse de Morteau).
          It may be fresh, semi-fresh (marinated, smoked…) or cured and dried. When dried, it is saucisse sèche.

          Saucisson is a sausage of larger diameter.
          It is rarely fresh but may be semi-fresh (marinated, smoked) and cooked, as for saucisson de Lyon or saucisson à l'ail. When cured and dried, it is called "saucisson sec".

          Saucisson sec and saucisse sèche are quite the same thing, with only a difference in thickness.

          1. re: Ptipois

            If I may add to Pti's informative reply:
            1. Edible Saucisson and to-be-cooked saucisse are kept in different sections under glass at the Boucherie.
            2. When in doubt, ask. Butchers don't bite. :-)

            1. re: Ptipois

              Thanks, Pti. Now that I've got it straight, I'm really confused. =:-0

      2. A fellow hound (nom de guerre: Cookingthebooks) wrote this very helpful article on seasonal produce in France. Although it is somewhat focused on Paris, Burgundy is not far, and the seasonal products in the markets have much in common.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Parigi

          Thanks all for the sausage and produce tutorials!

        2. Outside of Dijon and Beaune, markets in March will be disapointing, if at all present. The one in Saulieu is wonderful, but I doubt there's anything of interest before May. The problem is not so much produces (there are some nice ones in March, including lovely mushroom) as the fact that most local sellers, which actually caters primariliy to Parisian and tourists, are still closed from the winter break. Easter is usually the starting point for all those guys.

          But speaking of Saulieu, it has my favourite cheese shop anywhere: La Fouchale. In Semur, the charcuterie on the "cathedral" square (Barroyer) is pretty good.

          The saturday market in Beaune is quite nice. But to me the city is a destination for chocolate and candies foremost (and some seem to think it has good wine....). I love Bouché, though I always wonder if they're still open.

          5 Replies
          1. re: souphie

            Thank you, Souphie. I will certainly visit the charcuterie in Semur and the Saturday market in Beaune.

            Fortunately for me, cheese and chocolate are always in season!

            1. re: Henrietta Stackpole

              Dear Hounds--I've just returned from our 10 day trip through Burgundy and want to thank you for your advice and let you know about the tasty things I ate. We didn't go to any restaurants, focusing on picnics instead from boulangeries, fromageriers, charcuteries, a few great markets and the occasional grocery store.

              Cheese! Cheese! (How sad it is that I can't eat cheese three times at home, now that I'm not walking for 8 hours a day wearing a 15 lb backpack!) My favorite was Epoisse (also the stinkiest) followed by Langres. Also something starting with an R whose name I've forgotten but written down somewhere or another. Unpasteurized cheese tastes a billion times better!

              The markets in Beaune and Autun were a treat in every way. We got some early asparagus and ate it raw--so tender! And olives--spicy--and sausage (something with the name Rosette in it) and bread and HOMEMADE YOGURT!

              Of course we had a lot of bread (complet, the whole wheat was my favorite). I confess I was already munching a gourges within minutes of getting of the train in Dijon. We also had delightful quiches which suprised me by containing mustard.

              Alcohol doesn't agree with me much, but my husband did have some wine and of course he loved it.

              In every town I sampled the Jambon Persille. It was funny that whenever we ordered it the local people would look on us with approval and tell us we were making an excellent choice. I agree--it was outstanding.

              We tried the nonnettes and pain d'espice. They were quite tasty but I had more of a savory tooth than a sweet tooth. The cassis and fig flavored mustards from Dijon were fantastic.

              The charcuterie in Semur was closed. Actually, everything food related was closed (note to self: in small towns everything closes down on Sundays and Monday mornings).

              1. re: Henrietta Stackpole

                cheese that started with an R? Was it Reblochon?

            2. In Beaune, foodwise, I can recommend the moutarderie of Edmond Fallot, maker of perhaps the finest mustard in the world.

              And if you can detour to Echevronne, I highly recommend the Cassis, Framboise and Müre of Domain Lucien Jacob. Like no others you've ever tasted.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ChefJune

                Right you are, ChefJune. The Edmond Fallot mustard was superb!

                I see a detour to Echevronne in my future......

                1. re: Henrietta Stackpole

                  at Lucien Jacob, bypass their wine, it's pedestrian. Head straight for the Crèmes...