It’s early in the morning, 4 a.m and 0°C outside. We are in the suburbs of Paris, at the biggest wholesale food market in Europe. At this time, the activity is at its peak: trucks are coming and going, people yelling commands, boxes filling up with fish, meat, vegetables, fruits and flowers to be shipped mainly in France but also all over the world.
It’s big. Even beyond big, it’s huge. You need a car to get from one hangar to another. Everything is counted in tons, packed in crates and transported in trucks.
At Rungis there are no seasons nor regions. Blueberries and raspberries in winter, asparagus from Peru, combawa from east asia…Whole pieces of cattle are maturing during weeks in perfect humidity and temperature before getting cut up and sent away to restaurants or butchers. I have no impression of chaos, it’s all very clean and organized, everyone looks like they know where they are going, what they are doing.
At 9 a.m the activity slows down, the hangars are closing, most of the trucks are gone. Everyone is going to the after work to relax after the nights marathon, grabbing a freshly cooked still warm calf’s head sandwich and a glass of red. We choose café Saint Hubert to do the same. Surrounded by loud butchers in blood stained aprons we sip our coffee immersing ourselves in the particular Rungis atmosphere, tasting the best calf’s head in our lives.