We arrived in Ceret, a cherry town in the Langeudoc – Roussillon, just as the clouds of soft pink Cherry blossoms were starting to produce the first ripe, plump, glossy red fruits of the year. Ceret is not only distinguished by once being home (or home away from home) of Picasso, Braque, Matisse and friends – but by it’s abundant weekly market which was heaving with it’s glorious spring bounty of crisp white asparagus, violet streaked artichokes and all manner of beautiful cheeses and local wines.
The stall holders and market goers did not possess any stereotypical gallic frostiness, but were full of enthusiasm and warmth when suggesting their preferred way of using the fresh young garlic shoots to whip up a warming Saturday afternoon soufflé.
Ceret’s Catalan heritage was evident by the bright yellow and red striped Catalan flag, which hung proudly from numerous windows in the old part of town. As we listened to the town’s local brass band (also decked out in varying shades of bright red and yellow) belting out a few classics in front of Bar Le Pablo, we could have been mistaken for thinking we had arrived in Spain. The facades of the buildings and little miniature bull sculptures tucked neatly into any and every available nook gave the whole town a very Spanish feel. As we ordered the second carafe of local rose and nibbled on some peppery garlic encrusted green olives, we put Ceret on our list of must return to places.