Clotilde had mentioned that the Salon de Saveurs was going on this weekend. It's an exhibition of food and wine, targeted at the retail market (i.e. it's not an industry conference). I went on Monday afternoon, after having a nice lunch. This was by far the largest such event I've ever been to. There were maybe one or two hundred stalls, each mostly a single producer. There must have been at least a dozen producers of foie gras alone. There were also a few foreign food boards and agriculture groups, and some people selling cookware. Most of the stalls had something to taste. I tried several kinds of ham, various dry sausages (what usually gets called salami in the US, but there are dozens of kinds), beans, about 5 kinds of fig jam, pate de foie gras, a few different wines, oils, chocolate, macaroons, and on and on. I had just had a large lunch, so I wasn't starving, and didn't have too many wines, even though there must have been 50 wineries, distilleries, champagne houses, and brewers represented, all of whom were offering tastes. It was crowded, it was hot, I was sweating like a pig, but I'm glad I went.
Since I'm going back to the U.S., I couldn't buy anything fresh that I wanted to take home. I bought some canned paté de foie gras, some pays-basque pork paté, some dried organic tarbais beans (for making cassoulet), some fig jam, and a couple of gifts that I won't mention here. Unfortunately the only artisinal marron glacé (candied chestnut) producer was completely sold out, and that was one of the things on my list. If I lived here, I'd have gone to town.
I came back to the hotel totally exhausted. I was going to lie down for an hour and then go out, but I instantly fell asleep and woke up around 1am. Still a bit of jet lag...so I'm writing up blog text which I'll actually get to post tomorrow, unless I go downstairs and pay 15 euros/hr to use the hotel's stupid "internet terminal" (yeah, right). I wish I'd bought just a little saucisson, because it's 2am and now I'm hungry!