The dinner last weekend may have tipped you off that I love pumpkin soup. Absolutely! I know a few people who go crazy for pumpkin lattes and all kinds of stuff like that; but I really stick to the classics like pumpkin soup and pumpkin bread, and I love the seasonality and nutrition of pumpkin.
Last winter in Beaune, there were still tons of pumpkins to be found, for door decor~
…and also gracing the local mini-mart entrance. Though it looks like the dogs have been leaving messages on this pumpkin and greenery, so,…um, I would not be eating this one. Never mind, sorry I pointed that out. Just enjoy the look of the pumpkin & greens, please, and note that it is the heavily-ribbed Fairytale variety I used last Sunday at dinner. I prop them up like this at my door too; it keeps the dew off of them and they seem to last longer, or is it my imagination?~
Even in a large supermarket on the outskirts of Beaune, you find an array of pumpkins. Well, here they are calling the whole lot “squash” or courge. and you will often see that general label used. That’s butternut at edge left, Fairytale at center and traditional “pie type” at right, though the French don’t carve pumpkins for Jack-O-Lanterns or eat pumpkin the pie with the enthusiasm that we do in the States. But surely the French recognize that various squash are a good deal for the nutritional value….1 euro 25 per kilo whole and 1 euro 50 per kilo for cut….not too bad for an inexpensive meal or starter. The cut pieces are especially nice to buy as they can make a tasty starter or pasta filling. I also want to point out how beautiful these pumpkins are, even in a budget grocery store…of course, I am in France~
You can see in the pic above, the cut Fairytale are very orange, and as flavorful as the butternut squash. I also love the ones found at the Saturday Beaune market. I would L O V E to have this green squash right now….looks sort of like a Kabocha. Wouldn’t that big beauty make an amazing tureen? Sold at the market, by the slice~
No point sitting in California, idly longing for French pumpkins….we have Chino Ranch in Rancho Santa Fe, the supplier of Alice Waters, Wolfgang Puck and dozens of other amazing restaurants. Last week they had the pumpkin & squash wagon out~
Side note, at the RSF market we are offering a Big Mac pumpkin in exchange for a “like” on Facebook or a free guess of the weight…..this is Judy, the wife of Emilio the Paellla King at the market…just a little haha for you; Judy wanted to take this home right then~
Back to business….I love the French rouge vif d’etampes or Cinderella pumpkin that we see in France and that I have grown at home the last few years from French non-GMO seeds. This is now easily found in SoCal~
Chino Ranch has a few other varieties that I only see in France and at Chino’s….I loved this small one and so it came home to join the collection that swells each fall and winter on my kitchen steps~
And even at the local grocery, you can find a “pink” pumpkin to benefit Breast Cancer Research….wouldn’t this look great filled with pumpkin soup…pale pink & bright orange…..a great combination~
And I had a few friends in mind….how about vivid orange soup in a white pumpkin….with a French silver ladle….the organic alternative to a while porcelaine soupiere? Oui!
Each year as soon as pumpkins come to the markets I start to layer them in. Trader Joe’s has a great selection this year of unusual pumpkins and squash. Locally, I always visit Roger’s Gardens. Our local grocery has a nice selection of traditional and Fairytale pumpkins. I also find them at the various farmers markets I am at. Keep your eyes open. As long as the gourd is not damaged or compromised in any way, they will last you through the new year and for many meals. Next up, three recipes for you~
Meanwhile, today I bought a small Kabocha squash and a small grey-green beauty from Don at Corona del Mar market. Tomorrow back to Chino to see what they have on offer. Too much goodness to choose from!