Lost In Limoges

From the sheep-dotted pastures of France's underpopulated Southwest, Limoges rises in all its grey glory. The city's claim to fame: fine porcelain. The half-timbered houses of the Medieval center are surrounded by strip malls and McDo. Land-hungry Brits descend with flailing pocketbooks (thanks, RyanAir). The weather is remarkably cool year-round. Sure, I live on rue de Nice, but this is NOT the Cote d'Azur. Welcome to Limoges, "the middle of nowhere"-- or as Pierre says "everywhere"-- France.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Ramadan in Limoges

The holy month of Ramadan is upon us-- a time of prayers, reflection, and most importantly, fasting. Muslims don't eat from sun-up to sun-down. The brave Turks in my French class, clad in adorable tweed suits, answer the teacher's questions enthusiastically and with a smile. I know I'd be griping to myself about my growling belly (that needs to be fed every three hours before the low-bloodsugar-bad-mood sets in).

But a little lesser known fact about Ramadan is the food: dainty, delicious pastries, dripping with honey and sweet goodness, shared by family and friends after sunset. Pierre and I have discovered the pastry shop, a nondescript hole-in-the-wall (without a name) that becomes quite the hang-out in the waning daylight hours. The selection of treats is vast; there's quite a spread. Baklava, almond cake, crispy fried dough oozing honey, flaky bite-sized morsels dusted with pistachio flakes. Mmmmm.

The sweet shopkeeper slowly, slowly places the selected items on a tray, and then slowly, slowly transfers them into a box, which he ties carefully with a pink ribbon. Watching his movements, I think about all the hungry stomachs, feasting eyes, patiently waiting their turn. (I'm glad we've been the last in line on our last couple visits. I'd feel guilty getting my pastries before someone who's fasted all day.)

Check out Pierre's videos in the shop


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