I have found in life that things often happen when you least expect them. Yesterday morning I stopped in a wonderful store, I am seldom in the neighborhood to visit, Market Hall in Rockridge, (just along College Avenue from Berkeley) As soon as I’d crossed the threshold I remembered why I loved this shop, a visual masterpiece of enticing, gourmet temptations, like a grand European delicatessen.

Market Hall Rockridge California

Produce in Market Hall Rockridge near Berkley, California
The shelves at Market Hall in Rockridge are tightly packed with olive oils, preserves and chutneys, a counter selling homemade pies, salads, soups, desserts and pastas.

Pasta in Market Hall Rockridge near Berkley, California

Market Hall has a cheese counter like you rarely see anywhere locally, you could be in France!

Cheese in Market Hall Rockridge near Berkley, California
There are wonderful, delicious, home cooked pastries, specialty breads from my favorite bakery Acme, and baguettes!

Acme Bread in Market Hall Rockridge near Berkley, CaliforniaBaguettes in Market Hall Rockrid
Market Hall in Rockridge even has baskets to purchase, just like the ones from the Provencal markets!

French baskets for sale in Market Hall in Rockridge, near Berkley, California!
I rapidly became consumed by the ambience, emerged in the bustle and chatter by the bread counter and the warm coffee aroma, I almost expect a “Bonjour Madame” to be proffered up as it became my turn in the coffee line! Meandering back through the store, relishing every second I stopped to browse the wine selection, wondering whether there was any good rose wine.

A friendly young man offered his assistance and pre-occupied by reminiscences of France, I found myself asking whether he had any wines from Languedoc Roussillon. The response I got immediately caught my attention, not only could he show me several bottles but he began enthusiastically telling me how he had spent a month there this summer. As I followed him through the shop, my curiosity peeked I gingerly asked him where he had been.

‘Oh,’ he said ‘a small town you have probably never heard of, called Uzès.’ It was an unexpected reply and of course one that led us to a 20 minute conversation, sharing stories of wineries, restaurants and France. It was as if together we had suddenly been transported 5000 miles away, on a cloud of shared enthusiasm, to Place aux Herbes, Uzès.

We exchanged emails, I told him about my blog and he said he would follow me. I left my new ‘friend’ feeling thrilled and amazed, it felt as if in thinking so intensely about somewhere, somehow an instant and real connection had been created to it! I was so glad that I had stopped off atMarket Hall in Rockridge. Are there really no such things as coincidences?