Monday, March 2, 2009

Paris - Salon d'Agriculture

I recently went to the annual Salon International de l'Agriculture at the Porte de Versailles in Paris, where I spent 3 1/2 hours (about triple what I had expected). What a great time I had!

First, there are the animals: more than 4500 of the best sheep, goats, cows, pigs, horses, donkeys and mules that France has to offer; an amazing variety of breeds that are carefully preserved and cared for. Truly the best of the best. Some are for sale, but most are there as advertisements for the farmers that breed and raise them. The animals are amazingly well groomed and tended.

Then, there is the food. One pavilion contains international food, with lots of samples and also sandwiches and restaurants. I stupidly wasted some of my appetite on samples of delicious Swiss cheeses and Italian and Spanish hams and sausages, a porchetta sandwich, some gelato and a really bad mojito (I am not sure what possessed me).

The really great pavilion, though, is the one that displays (and offers) food from small artisanal producers from all over France, arranged by region. The quality is amazing, and the pride that the producers have in what they are growing and/or making is inspiring. I sampled an amazing array of foods, in no logical sequence, including a foie gras sandwich with a glass of Jurançon, a genuine cannelé de Bordeaux that I have to admit was better than my own, a fantastic looking andouillette sandwich (I just can't make myself like this stuff), a spoonful of caviar with vodka, innumerable samples of cheese and sausages, lavender and buckwheat honey (which I bought) and a small snifter of cognac as a digestif.

If you are in Paris in the last week of February, I can't recommend the Salon de l'Agriculture highly enough.

For some more pictures, click below.

Bobby Jay

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