04 February 2007

Au revoir, Mme Doudouille

We went to the outdoor food market in Saint-Aignan on Saturday for the first time since late December. We had a lot of either very cold or very rainy Saturdays in January, so we did our grocery shopping at Intermarché or SuperU instead of outdoors.

I stopped to talk to "Mme Doudouille" (my name for her — I don't know her real name) and buy a few things from her. Even though it is already February, I wanted to wish her a happy new year. The name Doudouille is pronounced [doo-DOO-yuh] with stress on that second syllable. Here's an old post with a lot of pictures of Mme Doudouille's market display.

So what did she tell me? She said, « Je voulais vous dire que bientôt je ne serai plus là le samedi matin. » Pretty soon I won't be coming here on Saturday mornings any more. My first thought was that she and her husband might be changing "shifts" — I know, for example, that he goes to the Friday market in Amboise to sell their products, and she does Saint-Aignan on Saturdays.

They live in or near Blois, she has told me, and they are present for markets in Blois several days out of the week. On Sundays, I believe, they are at the market in Meung-sur-Loire, between Blois and Orléans.

"Mme Doudouille" in her van/stand at the Saint-Aignan market

But no, she won't be working a different market on Saturdays, she said: « On déménage. On quitte la région. » They are moving to the area called the Auvergne. They will be about 75 miles south of the city called Clermont-Ferrand, and just a few miles north of the town called Aurillac. That's at least a four-hour drive from Saint-Aignan.

Just some of the great pork products sold by Doudouille

And they are in the process of buying a hôtel-restaurant down there. She gave me a brochure that shows pictures of the hotel. She said the sale is not absolutely final yet, but it seems it is going to happen.

I told her I was happy for them, but I was sad for us and for Saint-Aignan. I really enjoyed talking to her on Saturday mornings and eating the good sausages, pâtés, hams, slab bacon, half-salted pork, and rillons she sells.

Thiézac is near Aurillac en Auvergne, and
the ski resort called Super Lioran is also nearby.

I guess I'll be getting better acquainted with the other charcutier who works the Saint-Aignan market. His name is Mr Hentry, and his stand (it's a truck, actually) is just a few steps from Doudouille's at the Saint-Aignan market on Saturdays.

Here's the hôtel-restaurant, called Le Casteltinet.

And maybe Walt and I will take a trip down to the Aurillac area later this year or next. We now know some people who will be running a nice hotel down there. It's the part of Auvergne called Le Cantal, and they make a cheese there also called le cantal that is one of our favorites.


  1. It's not easy to lose a good boucher. I'll bet they'd love a visit from you!

    Meilleurs voeux!!

  2. Bonsoir Ken,

    Pour sûr que vous allez regretter cette charmante dame et ses produits de qualité... Mais un p'tit tour à Aurillac, c'est sympa, on y a des cousins et quand j'étais jeune fille, j'y ai passé des vacances l'hiver, on a skié à Super Lioran et Super Besse. L'auvergne est aussi très belle en été...


    Bises. Marie

  3. Oh, how sad! We enjoyed reading about Madame, seeing her, and eating the fine meal you made out of what she sells.

  4. Ken, speaking of Cantal:I wonder if you can get the three types that we have in the Dordogne doux, vieux ,et entre les deux. I find the doux too sweet for my taste and I love the aged Cantal. Too bad though about losing such a valued merchant.

  5. Alas Mme. Doudouille, we hardly knew ya.

    Candy and John

  6. Dennis, I'll have to ask the cheese ladies at the Saint-Aignan market about those three different cantal cheeses. So far, I just get one kind, though it is AOC.

    We get those different stages of maturity in our goat cheeses here. An ash-covered cheese in the Selles-sur-Cher style is called "un bleu", I've learned, and you can get it frais, demi-sec, and sec. When you ask for demi-sec, they ask you "plutôt sec, ou plutôt moelleux?" So there are very fine gradations.


What's on your mind? Qu'avez-vous à me dire ?