The trees here don't turn brilliant scarlet and gold. My east-coast lifestyle has always been a spoil of color before winter sets in, yet in Paris, the leaves turn brown and fall off. What an anticlimactic way to say goodbye to the sun for a few months!
However, the produce scene has more than redeemed the autumnal feeling I crave that the trees usually set off.
While I have yet to find apple-cider donuts (sigh, beignets) I have been busily cooking and eating my way through autumn. Every trip to the market sets off ooohs and ahhs and I generally end up carrying home much more than I planned to. Kilos of crispy-bright apples and pears, bunches of green cabbage, squash and pumpkin. My entire apartment permanently smells of garlic and onions as that is what goes into almost every meal now. I miss having a food processor and my big-ass kitchen aid mixer, but I am making due and having a real creative renaissance in the kitchen.
I've even been super lucky and found a vendor at the Bastille Market that has enormous bunches of kale:
Slugs seem to love it too, as I found several lurking in the folds of the leaves when I was washing and chopping it up. Squidgy! But I had several kale-based meals this week and have more in the freezer for later. Thank you to Kristen at the Kale Project for her hard work in this department! She sends out alerts when kale is spotted in a market in the city, and she's been working with farmers to convince them that there is a market for big bunches of bitter greens.
One of my only complaints about the produce here is that there is almost no bitter greens (kale and collards and rabe) and no hot peppers. The French don't really care for spice, and for whatever reason, the good stuff just never made it into their daily menus. I can usually find swiss chard, but not the pretty rainbow variety you get in the states. I can occasionally find bok choy. Alas, I can not really truly complain. Everything is brilliantly fresh and other than those few unavailable items, the variety is downright stunning.
Don't even get me started on the cheese.