Having never darkened the door of an Avoca shop in my entire life I was shocked to find that someone had found a way to evoke a small French town on market day. The only things missing for me were the buskers in berets with accordions. The aromas from the rotisserie and fresh bread, the comfortingly chaotic layout of the food hall transported me to rural France instantly.
As you wander from table to table where the concessionaires display their wares with pride, they give you confidence that they would hold forth about their production and process methods and the lengths they go to perfect them. Indeed, the butcher gave me the sense that he could call each cow or sheep by name.
Behind the apparently left-field nature of this shopping experience lies a very clever piece of business rationale. What Avoca have done, it appears to me, is gathered around them a network of suppliers and concessionaires who are passionate about the quality of their product, and therefore have no issue with asking the necessary price.
Stuck here in Dublin with its leaden skies and incessant rain, when I need my fix of Gallic character and passion for food it is a relief to know that I don’t need to travel too far to find it.