“The hardest thing is to take less when you can have more” -Kin Hubbard
Bonjour, ça va?!
I was thinking the other day where would be a good place for my next blog post and this immediately came to mind, a market that cannot be passed up. What a better way to spend a Sunday morning than among the buzz of people and scents of fresh pastries. I had planned an excessively long sleep in but the blog comes first!
There is a little goldmine of a market in Parnell called La Cigale that is a seemingly unimpressive group of tents at first glance, but once explored it becomes known that there is much more to offer than your middle-of-the-road market stall products. FYI this place has been voted Best Food Market by Metro Magazine for 8 years running! That’s something quite impressive, is it not? So, imagine a normal market: fresh veges, cheeses, some bits and bobs, handmade goodies; then imagine a bustling french café with fresh pastries laid out in front of you; now picture a homeware store filled with old ceramics, French-style antiques and an abundance of scented soaps. That is La Cigale. A ménage à trois (is that too cheeky?) or rather a marriage of a marketplace, shop and café rolled into one small area of land to offer a range of cultural cuisine for anyone to purchase. The story of La Cigale makes it that little bit more unique. It was originally not a market but only a shop, created by a couple called Elizabeth and Mike Lind. Their inspiration for it lay in their adoration of France as they had frequently visited the European country and they wanted to bring as much of the culture and cuisine as possible back to New Zealand to share with everyone here.
The building which is part of The French Market was the beginning of their creation, a small shop selling gourmet food and some French homeware. Now, merely the base of an extension with many aspects of food and culture, La Cigale has evolved to merge with New Zealand and other European-inspired produce set under little blue marketplace tents, all on offer to the public.
The copious amounts of food they have to offer is overwhelming; stacks upon stacks of cheese, pastries, veges, fruit and more! There are extensions of the market that include French Crêpes, a Raw Kitchen stall(a new addition), an Auntie Briars tent (dog biscuits), two coffee pop-up stores (indoor and outdoor), a range of export quality meats, a Paella stall, JuJu Juice and beautiful flowers too! In a nutshell, this market has almost anything you could ask for in a market, and in such a small space it does pretty well.
Mum treated us to breakfast, so I chose some little macaroons, Pistachio and Dark Chocolate. The others got an Almond Danish, a Chocolate Cravat, and an Almond Croissant all ranging from around $3.50-$5.00. Yum! I have taken some of my friends and visitors from England to this place and they have all enjoyed it! Today was my cousins turn and I think he liked it by looking at his eyes and mouth form complete circles as he spotted the cheese collection and the pastry collection that sat conveniently next to it. It was the epitome of a kid in a candy shop!
The problem with this place is that it is only small and therefore the time spent there is only short unless you manage to grab a seat inside. Also, it’s hidden away and quite set back from a main road so those who don’t know about it, wouldn’t have a clue it was there. Oh, how they are missing out!
I’m not sure why I like this place so much as I’m not a big fan of pastries or crowds. However, La Cigale has a certain buzz that makes me want to keep going back, not to mention the delicious food and the hummus range they have is to die for. At around $6 I think it’s wrong not to buy a pot. Even talking about it is making me want to go back!
You’ll never guess where I went after The French Market either…Junk & Disorderly of all places! (If you didn’t see it and have no idea what I’m talking about, check it out here) My Mum, after reading my blog post was insistent that we go back and I had no grounds on which to argue with her about it because I was definitely willing!
The weather is still temperamental as always in Auckland. Today it was humid and sunny, so though it is the end of summer, I swam in the sea! It’s one of the few times I actually have this year and it wasn’t too cold, it was quite bearable! How very unorthodox of me to be swimming in the sea in March and getting up early in Sundays, these are things you would not catch me doing on a normal day, but I live by spontaneous decisions upon my own accord and today the last thing I wanted to do was sit around, and that’s exactly what I didn’t do! Oh god, I’m turning into my mother! (Love you Mum)
So, what are you going to do today? Have some French food? Swim in the sea? Visit La Cigale? Whatever you do, enjoy it because it’s the little things in life that make it good!
French Market Hours:
Saturday 8am – 1.30pm
Sunday 8am – 1.30pm
69 St Georges Bay Rd
Bon Soir everyone!