Bonjour and Bore Da, Johnny Onion, selling your wares from a bicycle, your blue eyes twinkling as you offer me a head of garlic. You’ve come all the way from Brest in Brittany to spend these months in Wales, basing yourself in Cardiff, trekking around selling strings of onions, shallots and garlic. You are part of a long tradition of French onion sellers spending autumn months in Britain. It’s an absolute pleasure to buy these onions from you.
In the old days, if you were from Roscoff and a speaker of Breton, perhaps you and Welsh speakers would have been able to figure some things out together. Today, as it was, we spoke in English as I didn’t dare venture with my bad French.
Thank you for these lovely strong onions. They are beautifully coloured with pink, have a potent smell and peppery taste. You can see in the photograph below they are very fresh, glistening with moisture. I get a good, proper welling up of stinging tears when I chop them.