A Day at the Salon d’Agriculture

With all the stressful crap in the world today, this is a refreshing short read. I would love to attend a Parisian Food Show. I actually got a chance to go to something similar when I lived in Moscow, since Yulia worked for a french importing company. But this sounds much better.

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As we made our way towards lunch in the food pavilions, we stopped to see the donkeys. Axelle was in search of soap made from lait d’ânesse (donkey’s milk). Apparently, Cleopatra used to bathe in it. We both walked away with a jar of rich body cream that smelled faintly of honey. I was trying to think of a way to describe the purchase to my friends in the US. "Donkey cream" would probably be a mistake.

Entering the food pavilion, we hit the jackpot right off the escalator. A jury awards prizes to the best products each year, and we fell straight into the arms of Ghislaine and Réne Boutines, the médaille d’or (gold medal) for foie gras. So what if it was 11:30 am — never too early for paté.

The foie gras turned out to be both magnificent and essential, because it’s impossible to drink Armagnac (the next stand over) on an empty stomach. We tasted Daniel Dubos’ 1981 (this year’s médaille d’or), the 1979 (pow, right in the kisser) and a eventually settled on a 1989 (a kick at the beginning and a smooth warm tingle at the end). Their website is here.

There was also the delicate matter of sausages. We were looking for smoked. Au Bon Fume du Pays had a specimen of particularly impressive girth called the Jésu de Morteau (the Jesus of sausages), not to be confused — as foreigners and heretics often do — with the Morteau de Jésu (Jesus’ sausage). Hallelujah.

We plopped down for oysters around 2pm — fresh and sweet as skinny dipping in the ocean. With renewed vigor we moved on to the cushiony prunes of Agen and a taste of golden Sauternes, thick as maple syrup on the tongue.

Elizabeth Bard: Paris Notebook: A Day at the Salon d’Agriculture – Living on The Huffington Post