Sunday, March 11, 2007

Salon International de L'Agriculture 2007

I went to the Salon International de L'Agriculture last week, an huge agricultural exposition showcasing all the diversity of local produce and animals as well, as of course, culinary specialties. The prestigious bronze, silver and medal awards for the Concours Général Agricole are also displayed and products sold.

The show ran from the 3rd to the 11th of March and unfortunately we did not attend the "Nuit de L'Agriculture" which ran until 11pm, I spent approximately 7 hours at the show.

It was great fun for the family as evidenced by the throngs of people crowded around everywhere. A friend asked whether it was as bad as the food expo in Hong Kong whereupon generations attend together, often carrying their exhausted children while loading up their baby strollers with produce, elbows way out and much pushing to get to the front of the queue or to grab a slice of saucisson from a vendor's tray. OOOOH yeah, exactly like that here too. Oh but it was HUGE! The food halls alone (in which, I am only slightly ashamed to say I spent 6 hours and 45 minutes) were massive and I barely made it through.

I quickly passed by the live animals, which were all beautiful, clean and brushed with their best face and hooves forward.

One sheep looked straight at me thinking "Do you f***ing believe this? Just eat me already, this is humiliating!"

In addition to this was a perfect specimen of a moo cow, you know, the ones that you draw in kindergarten when you think ALL cows look like this. I don't know where y'all live but I have never seen one looking so nice.

It was quite funny to see all the cows lined up neatly right behind the "viande" (meat) stand with chefs cooking their brethren. It's nice to see that no matter how fantastic the children thought the animals were, they had no issues tucking into the meat. No tantrums and threats to go vegetarian with this lot!

Besides the agricultural bit there were also interesting contests going on. While the competition as to who is the quickest to change the chain on a chain saw didn't really float my boat, these bad ass women with axes, they were wicked (or whatever "cool" adjective kids use these days)!

Until the lady on the far right winked at me. I was a little horrified for a second while smiling best I could (she had an AXE, man!) but relaxed and waved at her like a five year old when she mouthed the words....

..."thank you" after I took her picture.

What a woman!

Of course I lost it when it came to the food halls. There were mountains and mountains of huge wheels of bread at one stand;

varieties of dried saucisson ranging from wild boar, to liver to nut, cheese, wild mushroom and herb flavored, it was completely overwhelming and utterly delicious;

legs of ham strewed all over another booth;

while sugared fruits and marzipan was laid out like shiny jewels at a different stall;

and award-winning poultry, all tucked into white cotton socks seemingly dozed peacefully nearby, dreaming no doubt of becoming dinner shortly.

One of the more interesting, at least to me, interactive exhibits was the blind tasting, hosted by Dans le Noir, where we entered into a completely dark room, led by a staff who were visually impaired and were served three items; which ended up consisting of foie gras on toast (yum!), red wine and tapenade. The first two were easy due to the texture and the strong identifiable taste/smell but the second, I thought it was either a white or a rose, showing how sometimes your senses can trick you into what tastes heavier and lighter.

We also had to have a Grand Marnier crêpe, especially one which allows you to sprinkle as much of the wonderful liqueur as you wish on top of your crêpe. Despite the loud encouragement from the French ladies behind me to put more and more liqueur, the huge magnum bottle was tricky to handle when trying not to squish two crêpes into one sticky mess.

A most delicious day out.


Anonymous said...

Le Blog keeps getting better et better. You should definitely make a career out of being a food write (NOT, a cookery one)....

Well done,

PS. Would you rather have to eat chips (pommes frites) twice a day for 6 months or never eat them again?

susan said...

Sounds like a good day out - did you buy a lot?
Goodness me, those women! they look VERY strong. Were they lumberjacks or something?

chaxiubao said...

The sheep looks so cute and innocent. That's why we need to eat it more!