I came across this poster yesterday in the Métro advertising the Festival du Livre Culinaire, which stopped me in my tracks. Well, it didn't actually, I went back through the turnstiles to look at it again, layer upon layer of cookbooks, food stuffs inbetween. Their atrocious website failed to give much in the way of information but I was able to glean that the county of honour was Italy, the theme was "Street Food" and the Produit de l'exposition was FROMAGE.
What was it De Gualle said about France and cheese...?
When we turned up at the exhibtion centre, it looked as though it might be a solo mission for me, as Pat looked wistfully out at the courtyard and his paperback (though the book was on the financial crisis, so I would have been loooking wistfully at a cyanide pill if that was my only reading option).
Italy's offerings which were slim pickings. I suspect the French included them only to advertise their culinary superiority. The only thing I tasted off their stall was a small slice of bread and some lard. Why I ate this is anyone's guess. Unable to say no to a free thing?
It appears that not one of France's 246 cheeses were on offer (or not that I could find) but instead we came across some guys with 5 huge wheels of swedish cheese. Those crafty Scandinavians get everywhere. Whilst at all the other stands there were people carefully paring off bits of this, slivers of that, and handing it over with a smile, Torsten and Georg laid an ice cream scoop on top of these cheese wheels and it was every man, women and billy bookcase for itself.
However, we did touch lucky when we happened to be walking past the Spanish wine tasting crew. Once a day they had their free wine tasting, which was really more like a game, and certainly designed to be a lot of fun. There were 6 bottles of red to taste at the beginning, and we had to note the 2 we liked the best. Then there were 3 wines in black glasses and we had to identify whether they were red or white. Next up was the Twins round - 2 out of 3 wines were the same, could we pick them (E = yes, P =no). Then, we had to pick the Malbec. We were both totally confident after getting a run down on the qualities of a malbec from the lady (violet colour and nose, light soft tannins, plum taste and medium body). Off the mark. We then returned to the first six wines we tasted to try and find the 2 we originally liked. It was superb craic, and would be a good fun way to do a wine tasting at home. We even won some things to put round the neck of the wine to stop it dripping on the table cover. These Spaniards know what they're doing.