I'm so lucky to live in a place that takes so much pride in their food products. There are countless regional specialties, all of them traditional products rooted deeply in the earth (or the sea) of that certain place.
As you wander around markets and groceries around France, you notice products with this label:
Every year at the Salon de l'Agriculture, more than 17,000 food products are judged, and a select few in each category are awarded a medal from the all-important Concours Général Agricole. Despite taste being completely subjective, the judges are usually spot-on with their awards and you can be pretty sure you are getting a superior product.
I have been looking forward to the Salon de l'Agriculture for months now. Not only do I love wandering around the livestock barns, but I really had no idea how much good food I was about to expérience.
Like artisanal limousin sausage and onion sandwich. J' heart sandwich!
The convention center at Porte du Versailles is enormous, and the fair took up several buildings. The food floors were nothing short of one of the Wonders of the World. Each region of France had their own area, and great fun was to be had darting between all the neighborhoods.
It was a fantastic way to sample a ton of really interesting good food, and meet the people who actually make them.
A beautiful wall of honey, from a Producer in Bourgeone, a region I have yet to really explore:
I couldn't make it through without stopping at a couple oyster bars. Oh, they were good.
There were lots of wine, Champagne, cider, cognac and beer vendors as well. People seemed to be doing more than just tasting- a lot of people were pretty jovial early on in the day.
Mmmm... saucisson cones...
The french love their hams and saucisson. It seemed like the lion's share of vendors seemed to deal with preserved meats, and not just beef or pork. Donkey, lamb, horse, rabbit, wild boar and all sorts of wild game make appearances.
It was delightful. All of it, except for the crowds, which got kind of pushy and full of small children and baby buggys at times. I had a fantastic Kouign Amann at one of the Bretton stands, and there was just so much cheese from small producers that we're not lucky enough to get in Paris. The fair is going on until 3 March, so go if you can. The Metro ticket to Porte de Versailles and the 13 Euro price tag at the gate is a lot cheaper than a tour de France to try and track down all these producers on their own.
There were lots of other really amazing things to see as well, and I'm going back for round two at some point. I'll have more posts about this event soon!