Food Trails
Mar03

Food Trails

Whenever I am in France come across many route du vins and occasionally a route de fromage. However I have discovered there are many more but lesser known food themed trails that are worth investigating. Not all of them are signposted with those familiar brown tourist signs. Some may need a bit of research at the tourist office or on sites like this one. I will cover more on this blog as I discover new ways to eat my way round France. Meanwhile, just to whet your appetite, here are five of my favourites. Chocolate The three cities of Bordeaux, Bayonne and Biarritz in Aquitaine are ideal cities for the chocoholic. Cocoa from the New World was imported into France at Bordeaux. The aristocracy frequented Biarritz and brought their luxury drink of chocolate with them. The Jews were kicked out of Spain and came to Bayonne with their chocolate making skills. Now the three cities make a “chocolate triangle”. Bordeaux has the greatest concentration of high quality chocolatiers; the three main ones are Cadiot Badie, Saunion and Darricau. For luxury hot chocolate and a chocolate museum visit Biarritz and for a stroll among the chocolate shops and cafes serving the frothy chocolate drink popular with the general population visit rue Pont Neuf in Bayonne. Blackcurrants Around the town of St George des Nuits famous for its rich Burgundy wines you can also follow the blackcurrant trail. Among vineyards are acres of bushes on which grow the little perle noir (black pearls). The most famous product is the blackcurrant liqueur called creme de la cassis. It was called this by decree from Napoleon and is the only liqueur produced in France not to bear the title liqueur. The blackcurrants are also used in preserves and many desserts in the numerous hotels and restaurants around the town. Prunes The city of Agen in southern France lends its name to the world’s most sought after prunes. However they were only shipped from there and were mistakenly labelled as coming from Agen by the Dutch. The plums from which we get prunes are actually grown in the valleys of the Lot et Garonne further to the east. The prunes are used in a number of ways other than the dried fruits commonly seen in supermarkets. Confectioners fill them or coat them with chocolate. Chefs use them in food with duck breast stuffed with prunes being a popular local dish. In Agen there is a festival devoted to prunes and in one of France’s more eccentric events there is a prune stone spitting contest. Salt of the Sea Some of the most sought after salt in the...

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