Lesson learned: if you are going to a food event, especially a food event in France, don’t skip lunch so you have room to taste. There will be champagne tasting, and wine tasting and beer tasting, and it will be a hazardous walk home!
Last Sunday was the Salon de la Gourmandise (just what it sounds like) up on the mountaintop in Epinal. For 3€, I’d be a damn fool to not go and see if I could find some local specialties and try some new foods. Lorraine is best known for a few different products, and none of them are quiche Lorraine:
—Munster cheese, creamy and pungent
—Mirabelle plums, which get put in sausage, tarts, and a surprisingly powerful brandy. I actually had to put my socks back on after I tried it.
—Madeleines, delicious shell-shaped sponge cakes
—Macarons from Nancy (not to be confused with macaroons). Love forever.
Outside of tasting about 10 different foods made with Mirabelle plums, the highlight of the event was learning about new food, and seeing how a lot of them were made. Escargot vendors assembled colorful pastes and jammed the newly-season snails back into their shells. Rhubarb and goumi wines were poured. Champagne deemed not good enough was poured onto the floor. Tandem baker teams assembled fresh macarons in all the colors of the Care Bear rainbow, and rolled trays of baguettes to and from an oven that raised the temperature of the room about 20 degrees. I might have been more drunk from the smell of baking than from the various wines.
Most importantly, cheese farmers sliced wedges at your command and offered up trays to taste. Turns out munster with cumin is actually more pleasing than regular munster. And now I have a new mission for this Friday!