Monday, 17 February 2014

Foire au Safran

The third Saturday in February is the Foire au Safran in Preuilly sur Claise every year. This year we invited our friends Rosemary and Jean Michel to attend with us and have lunch at the fair. We were delighted that they thought this small gourmet market, with its focus on safran, spices and other slightly out of the ordinary foodstuffs, was as good as we think it is.

 Yes, French women do go about with small dogs in carry bags...
 An overview of the market, which is held in the gymnasium.
 Dried fruit, including poires tapées ('tapped pears'), a delicacy only made in the Touraine.
 Rosemary talking to one of the vendors about saffron tea syrup. Lots of the stalls, like this one had small inexpensive items which would make great gifts.
 A spice vendor measuring out some lightly smoked sweet paprika for me.
Paul Mériguet, who taught me and many others all I know about saffron, sadly died last month and there was a brief tribute to him at lunchtime. The tribute he would really want though is the continuing success of this fair for many years to come.

UPDATE: You can read Rosemary's account of the fair on her blog Aussie in France here.


  1. I think it will grow on...
    there were more stalls this year than last.

    The meal was very nice again...
    but we needed to avoid the "poires" tapped stall on the way round...
    however, for me, it was the marzipan-stuffed dates that I would have had difficulty with...
    Mum made them every year for Christmas...
    and occasionally when "entertaining" American buyers.

    She would de-pip the dates and my bro' and I would stuff them.
    They have got to be one of my favourite "knibblz"!!
    The temptation to sample as we stuffed was always too great!

    I'm glad you managed to get a pic of the "bag dog"! I couldn't get the right angle... after you left it all became very crowded...
    very crowded indeed... we left when it became impossible to manouver easily...
    hubby was lugging the Bichon the last time we passed them.

    We stopped to talk to the Energy people about local heating technicians...
    who have the knowledge to work with a big log boiler like ours...
    and there were more people coming down the slope than going up... all the twenty minutes we were chatting with them!

    No problem I think with the Saffron Fair lapsing...
    as long as there is a willing team of organisers....
    and such events always need their bénévoles!!

  2. Tim: I was pleased to see that the Comité des Fêtes has some new blood (Claudine dGdP and one of the Chedezeau girls) who will be energetic and good team players.

  3. The little baskets made from reed and bramble were only 5 euros - as you say, excellent for little gifts. We bought a fruit/pot pourri basket for the guest room, and a bread basket. P.

  4. PG: those baskets are fantastic aren't they! Rosemary bought one. I should get to know the guy who makes them -- he's a friend of a neighbour of a friend. The materials for the baskets come from around the Etang de Ribaloche.

  5. We asked what the "grass" was, but didn't catch the word...
    do you know?
    It looked like a Juncus in the stem to me... but the seed head looked strange.

    Bramble used to be used that way to tie and pattern the sedge ridge along the top of a thatched roof...
    it is immensely strong...
    as you probably know from having tripped over the stuff!!

  6. Tim: at a guess I'd say the 'grass' is Sharp Flowered Rush Juncus acutiflorus. It certainly grows in the drawdown zone of the Etang de Ribaloche, and looks about right for what I saw on his table.

  7. I intended to write my post yesterday - it would have been synchro with yours - but work and VAT got in the way. We had a lovely time. When we got home JM read all the brochures about saffron. I'll ask him what the "grass" is. Our basket is just the right size for the local bread. I should have bought a bigger one as well for our homemade bread but it didn't occur to me ...

  8. Fraussie: I should have bought a basket too. Rush is jonc in French (but you probably already know that).

  9. JM says that it is a panier à joncs lié aux ronces.

  10. Fraussie: so, a basket made from rushes bound with brambles.