Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Farmer Gwan

Sometime last week, I received a facebook message from my friend Laura asking if I wanted to accompany her to the Tours Farm Expo on the weekend. Ordinarily, this isn't the sort of thing that would appeal - probably full of children and competitions to see who had the biggest turnip. But after a quick look at the website, I realised that this is France and thus naturally there was a heavy emphasis on consuming the farm-fresh produce. So I messaged back "I don't want to look at the latest milking machines, but if we can spend all day eating and drinking and maybe pat a few cute animals, I'm in!"

Such was our enthusiasm for the eating and drinking portion of the expo, we actually almost missed the whole shebang. We entered through the "restaurant" portion and, since it was after 1pm, decided to get lunch first, a delicious feast of duck sausages and chips. We then wandered around the different stands in this area for aaages, becoming slightly perplexed by the fact that, although the website had promised dégustation, most of the stuff on offer you had to pay for. We did stop at a couple of wine stands that gave tastings, and a couple more where you could buy a glass for a euro or two, plus we tasted the odd bit of cheese and jam, but overall we were a bit confused and disappointed that we'd paid 7€ to get in and weren't getting our fair share of free stuff. Although, after buying one glass of wine from a vendor, Laura pointed out that she had the same large, plush erotic die (which she won at a fair) as he did, which seemingly prompted him to offer us another glass of bubbly on the house. I guess he thought it was a good move to liquor up the owner of a sexy die. There's no arguing with that logic.

Anyway, when we had finally exhausted the possibilities offered by the outside bit, we decided we'd take a quick look in the expo itself - only to find that here was where they were hiding all the free food (and the cute animals)! Slightly kicking ourselves for having spent so much time outside, we attacked the tastings with gusto. Amongst other things, I tasted saffron whipped cream and chocolate with truffles (the mushroom kind). On both occasions, Laura marvelled at the distinct saffrony/truffley taste, and I honestly couldn't taste anything out of the ordinary. I suppose that means that I don't have to worry about ever wanting to blow a lot of money buying saffron or truffles though! I also don't really like caviar or foie gras, so I'm a cheap date. Although, later on we had a lovely little broth with foie gras, capers and crème fraîche in it, and it was just divine. I'm guessing that was cooked foie gras, so maybe it's just the pâté version I don't like? Another highlight was finding a wine section, where you could buy a glass (to keep!) for one euro and then taste about a dozen wines. I was a little bit tipsy by the end of this...

Actually, one of the best things was that we got to chat to a lot of people, and they were all super nice. The French do have a certain reputation when it comes to customer service, which is often not undeserved, but whether it was because it was small producers trying to sell their own products, or that they were pleased to come across some French-speaking foreigners eager to learn about the regional cuisine, or that they were just nice people, everyone was really friendly. And almost every conversation consisted of them asking where we were from and then proceeding to talk to Laura about their friend/cousin/sister/daughter living in the United States, strangely enough. One old dude even told us at least three times that his son, a literature student in Indiana, had been quoted in the French press about the US election, bless. (Of course, he wasn't the only one.)

Finally, we had a quick look around at the animals - and yes, even managed to pat one or two. And I succeeding in staying entirely ignorant of developments in milking technology. All, in all, a good day.

I had chicken for dinner tonight. Hope it wasn't this fancy lady

I got a picture of exhausted mum and happy piglet babies just before someone who was either a dickhead, or the farmer, or the dickhead farmer started kicking the side of the cage and startled them all into getting up. I especially love the piglet right in the middle with his little snout sticking up, so cute!

This sheep's a master of camouflage

These turned my teeth blue! (These were not on offer at the farm expo, this is out on the town with my ladies on Saturday night.)

Mini-Cheesewatch: I went home from the expo with a goat's cheese camembert. I've never even heard of goat's cheese camembert before. It has that very strong, mouldy feet-like taste and oozy texture which is obviously not to everyone's liking, but it is quite nice really!

16 comments:

  1. Mmm, that cheese looks very tempting.

    Enjoyed your account of your day out with your friend Laura. One of those "different" days.

    If it is any consolation I am not impressed by truffles or saffron, foie gras (yuk!) or caviar either. I used to think there was something wrong with my taste buds, so It is a comfort to me that there are others so handicapped.

    Actually it has not really had a devastating effect on my life so I can live with this defect.

    Love Denise

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    1. Ha ha I'm with you Denise! GM x

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    2. Ha, yes I think other than possibly not looking very sophisticated at swanky dinner parties, there's not many drawbacks to that.

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  2. You're a woman after my own heart, Gwan! These kind of Expos are all about the free samples, especially if you have to pay to get inside. At least you were able to eat and drink your money's worth!

    Those piglets are so cute! What a shame that they were startled out of their nap by the DH (farmer).

    You should have told the old dude with a son in Indiana that you're sick and tired of hearing about the US elections. That would have shut him up!

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    1. Exactly! It was a bit like a feeding frenzy at times, every time a new plate of something came out people descended like a flock of locusts and it was gone in 20 seconds.

      I know, leave the baby piggies alone!

      Aw, it was actually quite sweet how he was all proud of his son :)

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    2. Just for the record, I was teasing about telling the father that you didn't want to hear about his son's interview and the US elections. I'm all for letting parents talk about their kids since I have a couple myself!

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  3. You had me at duck sausages and chips :)
    And goats cheese camembert seems very, very strange.

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    1. Oh yeah, duck anything, I'm there!

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  4. Hahaha "...we'd paid 7€ to get in and weren't getting our fair share of free stuff". You make me laugh, Gwan! That is something I would think/say as well. I'd then chant "free stuff! free stuff!".

    I also love that there was wine there. At a Farm Expo in the States there would certainly NOT be a wine tasting! God, I love France.

    Thank you for your recap on the farm expo, it seriously has been a little joke between Seb and I for about a year. We cooked up an entire story of what "happens" at the Farm Expo and the conversations had among Farm Expo "goers". I think we let our imagination go a bit! : )

    I want a polka dot baby piglet...

    ...oh and what are those blue drinks???

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    1. I was asking this woman about the difference between rillettes de Tours and rillettes de Mans, and she was putting samples on bread *right in front of us* and then she's all, "so you want to buy some?" No, lady, I want a free sample. Sheesh.

      They are some sort of blue curaçao/vodka/lime thing. Don't recommend - not very nice and, as mentioned, turned my teeth blue.

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    2. HAHAHA! I always feel so cheap taking a free sample and not buying the product after, so I pretend that someone called me and sort of phase myself out.

      Oh that cocktail doesn't sound too bad, except for the blue teeth part - actually yeah, that's pretty bad, nevermind.

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    3. Ha, I do too normally, but in the cases where I've paid to come in and sample stuff it's less awkward I think/

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  5. What sheeps? I see no sheeps! - Horatio Nelson Copenhagen c1800.

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    1. You and your naval history...

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  6. I went to the Salon de l'Agriculture in Paris once for the same reasons as you and was similarly disappointed AND we never found any free stuff in the end. Seeing ginormous hairy cows and cute chicks in a place nearer to a metro station than it was to grass was fun though!

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    1. Damn, at least you got the cute animals though!

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