Appreciating good food and wine is an intrinsic part of being French. To this effect, it almost comes as a surprise that it is only recently the French have instituted a festival around this – Fête de la Gastronomie. This is the first but am sure the trend, once set, will only grow bigger in years to come.
For three days, 20-22 September 2013, the country will turn into one giant centre for showcasing their culinary prowess. Not that they don’t like to show off otherwise but this is more about good eating than merely good publicity. Although the entire industry of food will be involved in some manner, what is of particular interest is that 27 noted chefs representing 27 regions of France (even I didn’t know that there were that many with marked differences) will prepare and showcase recipes for five Euros, (yep you read that right) for people to take home and try. I do wish they’d prepare the menu too; I’d even pay a whole extra Euro for the trouble. For others (like me) who don’t wish to put in the effort, there are huge banquets being organised in most regions where people can attend and indulge in some communal grubbing. Other things being organised include picnics and food trails. Some of these would lead into the heart of French gastronomy, from visits to chef’s kitchens to farms amd laboratories – the entire diaspora of the country’s kitchen repertoire will be available to the curious few who wish to explore.
In fact, almost in-keeping with the tradition of French rivalry, each region is out to showcase the best of their part of the world. And in a country which counts some of the top wines and cuisines of the world among its many regional specialities one can only imagine how rife must the air be with this undeclared culinary competition. And then am sure the local wines will play an important part in this too.
Not just in France but this French gastronomy festival is being celebrated in countries as far as Argentina as well. In India, I don’t know if we are doing anything but I for sure will head out for a nice French meal. The options in the capital (purely in order of distance from my house) – Le Bistro du Parc, Chez Nini, Le Cirque, and Rara Avis. If there is any other French restaurant worth its Bechamel that I have left out, please leave me a note here.