Let's visit a market with special Spit Cake! | 山区集市&树形蛋糕

in HIVE CN 中文社区4 months ago (edited)


Hey everyone, it's MarketFriday again! This time, let's visit a lively open-air market in Saint-Lary-Soulan, a commune in the Hautes-Pyrénées of France.

Located by the French-Spanish border, next to the Pyrénées National Park and Le Néouvielle Nature Reserve, Saint-Lary-Soulan is not only a ski and spa hotspot but also a great base for activities like hiking and biking. I did some hikes in the nearby mountains in summer years ago and happened to see this market taking place on Saturday.

The market was set amid the characteristic stone houses and surrounded by misty mountains, offering a wide range of fresh produce, deli food, handmade crafts as well as clothes and accessories.

Here, you can find regional specialties such as black Bigorre pork, frog legs, dry-cured Fuet sausage of Catalan origin, Garbure stew from the Pyrénées consisting mainly of white Tarbais beans, cabbage and preserved goose or duck simmered on low heat.

The handmade soap and the Basque-style beret also caught my attention. I read that Berets are actually the traditional headgear of Aragonese and Navarrian shepherds from the Pyrenees valleys.

Some products might not look so refined or delicate as in fancier city markets, but I truly enjoyed the warm atmosphere and hospitality here. Everyone we talked to was genuinely friendly and helpful, often with a big smile on their face. It's something which made that Pyrénées trip especially unforgettable, aside from its stunning mountain and lake sceneries.

I liked how some vendors showed us buyers their food-making process starting from the beginning, such as the stories of the Beratou cheese and of the spit cake. I was attracted by the tree-shaped cake on the spit and bought one on the spot. It was crunchy outside and softer inside with rich butter and egg taste, so yummy! The cake is called gâteau à la broche, a traditional cake from the Bigorre region. The man in my photo applied layer upon layer of batter to that spit in front of a fire, and it all gradually solidified in contact with the heat. You can smell that sweetness in the air from distance, and it won't let you down. :)

Here's a recipe I found online if you are also interested to know how to make this delicious gâteau à la broche. I read that a spit cake festival is held in the town of Arreau in the Hautes-Pyrénées each July. It's a great chance to sample this unique treat.

There were also abundant fruits on offer at the market, like peaches and apricots. We bought a couple of giant yellow peaches, and even today, I can still recall their sweet and juicy taste...










这次的周五集市,我们到法国比利牛斯山区的一处露天市场看一看。Saint-Lary-Soulan位于法国西班牙边境,毗邻比利牛斯山国家公园和Le Néouvielle自然保护区,不仅是滑雪和水疗中心,也是远足和骑车等户外活动的理想基地。





All content by @itchyfeetdonica. Thank you for visiting!
图文by Donica,谢谢来访!=)


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keep it Haute like chris brown

is this one of those city states with autonomous rule up in the mountains with low EU membership and their own rules etc?

Hmm, I'm not sure... the history of that region seems quite complicated.

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I love markets like this! You can try local stuff and learn a lot from the sellers if you ask the right questions. Great post!

Exactly. :) I had a great time there.

The market looks really appetizing with all the little things to try. Is this a common offer or something special?


They say it's common in that region, even with a summer festival about it.

Oh my word! I was just commenting to @dswigle about the wonderful markets I visited when I lived overseas! I was remembering one of the French markets that we used to buy our breakfast from when we were running half marathons there. Quaint farm market with red umbrellas, crates of fresh veggies and baskets overflowing with pastries. We by-passed the (gulp) frogs legs. I forgot the name of the market .... until I read your post! I was there!!!! What a wonderful wander down memory lane! Thank you @itchyfeetdonica

You are very welcome. :) Cool to know that you were also there and were running half marathons!

That traditional cake from the Bigorre region looks exactly like the ones in Lithuania. In Lithuania, they have them as a special dessert, gift to someone special or Christmas/New Year or even a wedding cake. It is called Šakotis.
I did see something similar in Poland and Germany but done slightly differently.
The one I see here in your pictures looks exactly like Šakotis. Would be interesting to know where it originated first 😂

Aha, that's fun! :D I just checked pictures of Šakotis, and they do look the same! Are you from Lithuania?
I didn't see that cake when travelling in Lithuania or Poland, but noticed something similar (less spiky) in Austria once. I'm wondering where it started too. 😃

I am Latvian, but my other half is Lithuanian hence I know about it. I love that cake. Every time I come to see his parents, they order a huge Šakotis. We end up taking some back to the UK too.

And it is interesting because Latvia and Lithuania are border countries (kinda brothers due to the Baltic state thing), yet we don't have this cake in Latvia. Amond Latvians it is called a Lithuanian "Christmas tree". 🙂