This weekend was meant to set the stage for an epic as our favorite French food fairs – Le Marché and Le Petit Mercado – were taking place simultaneously. Sadly, news is in: due to the rainy weather Le Marché has been canceled. That won’t be stopping us from giving a rundown to the two commonly recurring festivals.
Weather aside the question remains – Which French food festival takes home the cake, or the macaroon in this case? Take notes, we are here to help you pick your French market soulmate.
Le Petit Mercado it’s ready to win our hearts and stomachs at boho chic Galpón de los Milagros this Sunday. Le Marché won’t be giving up permanently and will bring an entire arsenal of French delights to equally chic but entirely less bohemian Hipodromo de Palermo whenever the weather cooperates more.
First, let’s consider the French specialty offerings. I mean, that’s what we’re all here for right?
Sébastien Fouillade, lead Chef from recently opened Topinambour, has earned a place in the Hipodromo’s arena. It’s French culinary savoir-faire, combined with seasonal local ingredients sounds promising (and delicious). Expectations are high since it’s Bouchée à la reine and Fried Mussels amazed BA Food Week’s most demanding palates. Le Marché just got some credit.
Le Petit Marché has great material to counterpoint though: Nicolas Ronceray and what many believe to be the best crêpes in Buenos Aires. Original and fresh ingredients are perfectly combined in an authentic sarrasin dough, taking you with just one bite straight to Bretagne, the dreamy – yet rainy – land of crêpes. Plus, you can grab a glass of it’s organic wine collection (don’t mind the slight carbonation it’s part of the whole biodynamic thing).
Forget about sword fights, this is a war fought with baguettes. In duel of the bakeries both fairs have a lot to offer. On the west side notorious L’Epi and its buttery-yet-crunchy croissant aux amandes (almonds croissant) has proven they know how to win a crowd. Timid Le Moulin de la Fleur – now a regular on Galpón de los Milagros – has nothing to be jealous of its rivals for, with their viennoiseries – croissants, chocolate or raisin bread – are as authentic as can be.
We thought the sweet treats will narrow the competition down a bit, but we were wrong. Le Marché’s Compañia de Chocolates – despite its Argentine name – knows how to bake a perfectly soft marquise au chocolat. But Les Gourmands – one of Le Petit Mercado’s new pearls can easily match the score with its superb macarons. Superb, take our word on that one.
French perfection appearing to break almost even between the two, it seems like only the foreign guests of both contestants could be able to make the difference.
Astor – manduque porteño could take Le Marché to a victory. It’s rare dried meats (deer, wild pig) are something special, and Chef Antonio Soriano has a creative way to merge fresh vegetables into delicious and comforting soups. On the fair’s last edition, his meat stew was to die for.
But then again things get tricky, as La Areperia de Buenos Aires is coming back to Le Petit Mercado to bring some Colombian heat to the City. The best arepas (sort of corn pancakes) in town, no doubt about it, served with a warm smile and a creamy Guacamole, and that’s not it. In the last edition of the “petite” fair, people were willing to line up for almost half an hour just to get a taste of Bao Kitchen’s Gua Bao – should we say WOW Bao (long live dad jokes!)? – a Taiwanese heavenly little sandwich.
Maybe some of the extra activities can help us find a winner. Rumor says Le Marché might be inviting Sabe La Tierra – a farmers market – to its next edition, which could give it a clear advantage. We can’t rely on rumors until then and will try to confirm ASAP when Le Marché’s organizers set up a date for the next fair. Meanwhile, the live performance of Walking Jazz Trio on El Galpón de los Milagros could tip the scales in Le Petit Mercado’s favor.
Do we have a winner? On a general scale, it is hard to tell. Rain or shine Le Petit Mercado will be happening on Sunday, and that is enough to makes us choose up sides with it. At least for now.