It's that time of year again..No, not Christmas (not yet!) but La Rochelle's annual Salon de la Gastronomie. After discovering this greedy event last year with Cheri, I was eager to see what this year would have to offer.
I was pleasantly surprised to see on arriving that the entry fee hadn't increased from last year: 3 euros is nothing for an afternoon of wine-tasting, cake-nibbling and general foodie merriment in a world where everything seems to be expensive.
We started by doing the once round to try a bit of everything (well I wasn't going to say no to homemade butternut squash soup, pineau jelly or a glass of champagne!) I knew I'd have to make some hard decisions. What to buy out of the tens of delicious products?
After a lot of deliberation, a bit more tasting and another glass of champagne, Cheri and I managed to whittle down the list to a manageable four items.
Grape jam with safran
This French-grown safran from the Gers region is used by Domi and Alex to make a selection of delicious jams, onion chutneys and honey. The delicate and raffined taste of the safran goes wonderfully with this grape jam and balances out nicely the acidity of the grapes. Thanks to Dominique for letting us try the whole range of products and for letting me take a photo of the stand!
Literally can't get enough of these delicious afternoon-tea treats since Cheri introduced me to them on one of visits to Bordeaux. Invitingly crunchy on the outside, soft and gummy on the inside, these beauties have a lovely vanilla taste, enhanced buy a generous dose of rum. Needless to say we ate all six in less than 5 minutes of getting back in the house!
All of the flavours of Christmas rolled into one sticky, wickedly rich cake. Perfect with a big steaming mug of Earl Grey while listening unashamedly to 'All I Want for Christmas is You'. Yes, it's Mariah time.
Various sun-dried tomato pastes: indian, wild mushroom and black trumpet mushroom
The last impulse buy of the day, I just couldn't leave without taking home a couple of these sun-dried tomato pastes. Delicious in pasta sauces, curries, or simply spread onto a bit of poppadom as a TV snack, I was already a fan of these Mediterranean delights before the Salon but had only tasted them in their natural state. Special mention for the black trumpet mushroom paste: actually died and went to fungi heaven upon trying this!
Until next year...