Salon du Palais Gourmand (Culinary Expo)

Similar to the Salon des Vignerons, this annual exposition was equally impressive, with winemakers, artisans, and culinary specialists all enticing visitors to taste and sample their wares. Held over a five-day period at the l’Hippodrome/racetrack in Cagnes-sur-Mer, the event hosts regional productors from all over France.

Of course, my first stop was at one of the champagne stands, where I sampled their Brut Rosé – it was miam-miam!  Foie gras, super-size cheeses, meats and sausages of every kind, olives, nougat, macaroons, oysters, and cassoulet were on display in the pavillon – a feast for the eyes, as well as for the tastebuds – Bon Appétit!

An Extremely ‘bubbly’ Sunday – French food market

I attended the 22nd “Salon des Vignerons” – an annual, wine-maker & wine-tasting fair that also sells regional foods and other specialties. Held at the town’s racetrack, there were more than 260 vendors from all regions of France, Italie, and from Quebec, Canada. I was given a wine glass at the entrance, and as I wandered among the stands and booths, vendors would vivaciously offer and pour free samples of wine or champagne or slice samples of cheeses and hams, as they explained their products’ individual nuances. You could taste absolutely everything that was for sale! I tasted Serano ham, Guyere cheese, olives, chocolate made with olive oil instead of butter, salami, and seaweed, just to name a few!

For example, from the Basque region, I sampled a special aperitif or dessert wine that consisted of white grapes and armagnac (delicious)! From Vertus, I tasted three kinds of wine, each one having progressively plus de corps and plus d’attaque (more full-bodied), with the last one having been in the wine cellar for ten years. At the Gremillet stand, I tasted a champagne that was 70% pinot noir and 30% chardonnay (fruity but not sweet), and another that was 100% chardonnay (not as round in the mouth). The apple cider booth from Quebec was unusual and very good, with a recommendation to use ‘vrai’ ice rather than crushed ice. I love champagne, and so, the booths selling ‘bubbly’ were my favorite — of course, I just had to buy a couple of bottles as souvenirs. What would you have bought?

There was also an impressive wine rack display, with unusual and creative designs of wine decanters and wine fountains. Other displays included the well-known French brand of knives, Laguiole.

All in all, it was a very French and bubbly day, with corks popping and animated discussions about what French people love and take si much pride in — their ‘produits du terroir’ (regional products)!

All photos © 24/7 in France