On the first day of autumn, France devotes an entire day to celebrate gastronomy. La Fête de la Gastronomie marks its second year on September 22, 2012, celebrating terroirs, highlighting the traditions and creativity infused into French gastronomy through exceptional events all around the country (see link to search for an event).
The now annual fest was initiated for the first time in 2011 by former Secretary of State for Tourism Frédéric Lefebvre, who created the event as a way to showcase the great diversity of French cuisine within the nation. The festival follows UNESCO’s addition of the French gastronomic meal to their prestigious list of World Intangible Heritages, honoring the conviviality surrounding customary French meals. Inspired by the format of the successful Fête de la Musique, when open-air music fills streets all around France, la Fête de la Gastronomie aims to create a convivial and warm atmosphere that brings people together through the culinary arts.
This year’s events include free food samples at stores all around France, exceptional markets, live cooking demonstrations, and special discounts at restaurants. In Burgundy and Paris, lavish picnics will be held in various locations ranging from vineyards to open-air cafes, serving food prepared by famous chefs and wine by local growers. New this year is the launch of an amateur cooking competition, bringing together hundreds of chefs to showcase their creativity. Regional competitions will be held at various Relais & Chateaux properties as well as cooking schools around the country, where contestants will prepare dishes using a predetermined selection of local produce.
Source: France Government Tourist Office Press Release