Avignon’s Les Halles market is the undisputed epicentre of fresh produce in Provence. It’s not the olives or the aubergine caviar that attract the longest queues, however; that honour is reserved for Les Fromages de Valérie. It may be because Valérie offers free tastings of Beaufort d’été cheese from the Alps and her unpasteurised banon. She also has tiny marbles of exquisite goat’s cheese wrapped in chestnut leaves, a pungent Pelardon (also from goat’s milk) whose aroma can be detected from miles away, and giant slabs of gruyère and oak-aged comté. She also stocks a discreet, almost unmentioned, selection of foreign cheeses – pecorino, gouda, manchego and cheddar – tightly wrapped in the glass-fronted cabinets. Her shiny green stall is in the second row on the right, third booth down, where Valérie waits with her giant knife.
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