France is a land of milk and honey for food lovers. In every region, in every department, there are culinary specialties to discover and make the acquaintance of passionate producers. The awareness of food is particularly pronounced in France. Regionally protected specialties abound. But behind many of the products now bearing an AOP label lies a long road that producers have had to travel to protect their product from the abuse of a good name. Long before AOP and the older French designation of origin, AOC, Appellation d’origine controlée, the Roquefort region managed to protect its famous blue cheese. It was a real stroke of marketing genius when the Parliament of Toulouse decided on August 31, 1666, that only cheese originating from Roquefort could call itself Roquefort. In contrast, Dijon mustard lost its name over 100 years ago. Today Dijon mustard is produced all over the world, but it can still be called after the city in Burgundy. Also the Paludiers in the Guérande did not pay attention and did not have their Fleur de Sel protected. So today fine sea salt flowers are scooped around the globe and were allowed to call themselves Fleur de Sel. One could certainly write a thick book about the many dramas that have taken place around the Appelation d’Origine Protégée (AOP) label, which is now awarded by the European Union. Champagne, truffles, cheese, cassoulet, olive oil and even white beans, all good foods are surrounded by exciting stories that look far into history and also tell you a lot about the lives of people in past centuries. Why, for example, was absinthe so wicked? If one looks into the history it becomes clear, it was a defense strategy of the winegrowers. Protectionism with a hard line. So if the world is full of culinary stories, often going way back in time, France is a bit like an epi-center of food stories. Here come some of them:
If you walk attentively through the streets of Avignon, you will discover street art from different eras. From MifaMosa to the house Madonna
Les Halles, the market hall of Avignon with the vertical garden of botanist Patrick Blanc and delicacies from Provence.
A visit to the Palais des Papes is worthwhile. The Unesco World Heritage Site offers a vivid look at the time as a papal residence, also thanks to modern museum technology
The Auvergne – Rhône – Alpes region is home to a particularly large number of breweries. Why France is discovering a love of beer, tells a brewer from the Drôme Valley
Oysters are a popular appetizer in France. They are hardly filling, low in fat and carbohydrates, but contain many vitamins and minerals.
On an advertising stretch of four infinite pages and the slogan “Creating Infinity”, luxury brand Louis Vuitton launches its collaboration with Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.
In the kitchen, lavender is also used in the form of lavender salt or lavender sugar. As a tip for use: lavender has an aromatic proximity to rosemary
The run through the vineyards of the Médoc is called the longest marathon in the world. Georg Berg took part and is thrilled by the atmosphere
The attraction of flowering lavender fields is as great as the famous Route Nationale 7 is long. What types of lavender are there and how to cook with them?
In a remarkable landscape of France, the starting point for walks is the village of Mourèze, where you can discover expressive works of art
On a hike through the gorge of Navacelles to an ancient mill, you casually learn how rural life was a thousand years ago
Bernhard Xueref discovered his passion for cocoa from São Tomé in 2010. It turned him into a chocolatier and ambassador for sustainability and Fairtrade
The Gothic Papal Palace of the southern French city of Avignon conveys its historical significance. Exhibitions and events bring culture to life.
Montpellier wins the French Rugby Championship. The final against Castres was broadcast from Paris for public viewing on the Place de la Comédie.
This hearty specialty from the south of France was a poor man’s food. Ingredients: White beans, duck, sausage, bacon. Preparation classic in the cassole.
The harvest season for olives in the Var region begins in November. This is where tradition meets modernity. The differences could hardly be greater.
A perfect stop in France for anyone on their way south. Café de la Page serves very good food with fresh and local products
A tragic story from the culinary world describes how Dijon mustard lost its home: Edmond Fallot is France’s last family-owned mustard manufacturer.
In 1984, Jean Yves Bordier opened a butter shop in the Rue de l’Orme. He wants to make butter again as his grandfather did, with time, wooden tools and traditional techniques.
The Vosges are a varied low mountain range. Nevertheless, you do not have to do without good wine, hearty cuisine and picturesque towns.
In France, they call it the black diamond of gastronomy. Truffles are among the most expensive edible mushrooms in the world. Before Christmas, the price per kilo rises to 1,000 euros or more.
The concept of Horizons d’Alsace sounds like it was created during the Covid pandemic to cater to the wanderlust and love of nature
Oysters are invigorating and energizing, like the primordial sea from which all life originated. It is recommended to chew them for a long time instead of swallowing them with fright.
Absinthe, this name carries the taste of the forbidden. A journey along the route of absinthe in France and Switzerland.
Winter truffles are available in Provence from December. Then the upscale gastronomy in the Var department always has one or more truffle dishes on the menu
Visiting a global player in the international truffle market. In the small provincial town of Draguignan, truffle products are produced for gastronomy.
Provence is one of the most beautiful and oldest cultural landscapes. For more than 2,000 years, people have been growing wine and olives on the Côte d’Azur
In the Var department in Provence, oak trees are used for truffle cultivation. Only after 10 years the first truffles can be harvested.
Every year at the beginning of December, the truffle growers of the French department of Var line up in the marketplace of Aups for the opening of the truffle season. Who is allowed to sell here, to whom and at what price has been regulated by the syndicate for over 50 years.
In the Var region of Provence, most truffle growers own private land where they plant oak trees. The precious black truffle is mostly tracked down with dogs.
The Partnership Association Grevenbroich offers a trip to Saint Chamond at the end of May 2022. A preview and travel info.
Truffles take six to eight months to reach maturity. The degree of ripeness is not indicated by the size, but by the smell they emit
A rewarding look at the turbulent history of this drink, which translated into German simply means wormwood. Absinthe is the taste of the forbidden
Every year in May it gets crowded in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. Roma families make a pilgrimage to Black Sara. Flamenco of the Camargue Gitanos resounds in the narrow streets
Every trip through Europe sets something against the isolation caused by the Brexit. A ferry founded by Breton farmers carries mainly tourists
Brittany Ferries has been transporting agricultural products from Brittany to the British Isles since 1973 and is now particularly used by travelers
A legal dispute ended the protection of the origin of Dijon mustard in 1937. The designation is no longer linked to the place in Burgundy, but only to the recipe
Brittany & Spa in Roscoff. The hotel focuses on local freshness and combines tradition and modernity. If the star chef works alone, there is simply lobster
Beautiful cottages in a former farmstead give city dwellers new energy away from meetings, business meals and mobile permanent availability
Hugo Roellinger raves about scallops and has his own philosophy on wild oysters. For him, an oyster is the transformation of stone into life
The profession of paludier has a long tradition in Guérande. The sea salt was seasoning, vital mineral and valuable preservative.
Deutsch-Französischer Dialog (dokdoc.eu): Großes Kino im Weinbaugebiet. Ein Erlebnisbericht über die Teilnahme am Medoc Marathon von Georg Berg
Deutsch-Französischer Dialog (dokdoc.eu): Aus eigener Produktion – Französische Biere
Die in Frankreich entstandenen Fotos von Georg Berg können für alle Nutzungsarten bei der internationalen Bildagentur Alamy lizensiert werden.