France celebrates the 7th edition of the Fete de la Gastronomie27-09-2017
France’s annual food fest, the “Fete de la Gastronomie”, is now in its 7th year and delighting French palates once more.
It has now been seven years since the French Ministry of Finance, together with the Ministry of Agriculture, launched an initiative which over time has earned its place among the pantheon of great French celebrations.
Celebrating French culinary tradition
Since 2011, experts and followers of French cuisine have been coming together to celebrate French cuisine, which was officially recognised by UNESCO as an “intangible cultural heritage” back in 2010. Every fourth weekend in September, a rich schedule of events takes place up and down the country.
“Our initial aim is starting to have an impact; the Fete de la Gastronomie has in fact a dual purpose. The first targets the general public, where we get France involved at every level of society in a series of convivial, happy and educational events, so consumers can learn about the diversity, quality and sheer extent of French cuisine. We need to remember that French culinary tradition belongs to everyone, and should be seen as a shared value,” explains Sophie Le Bouleise, High Commissioner of Fete de la Gastronomie.
The event covers the whole of France and includes a large number of consumer initiatives, including talks, exhibitions, meals in extraordinary venues, banquets and even film showings, and provides a platform to unite food professionals.
“Our second objective is linked to our role with regards to food industry professionals. We want to help them to create leverage for their business and attract new customers, suppliers, opportunities, progress and even new partners. In this respect, the project is more about driving the economy. Fete de la Gastronomie is also showcased as a global tourist event for France” points out the Commissioner.
Indeed, the Fete de la Gastronomie drives economic growth and promotes French regions within a number of sectors, including hotels and restaurants, agriculture, food industries, fishing, markets, tableware, tourism, viticulture, crafts, catering and even recreational cookery. A number of ambitious projects feature on the programme every year.
The 7th edition shines a spotlight on the product
“Au Coeur des produits” – spotlight on the product – is this year’s theme, and a way to showcase a range of products, ambassadors of their regions, which are in fact true drivers of growth. The theme is also an opportunity to reflect on the living world and all the knowledge and expertise therein.
“I want everybody involved to come away with a deeper understanding of the products, the key players and what it means to be French, so that everyone is proud of their heritage and can also modify their eating and buying habits and cooking techniques.” explains Sophie Le Bouleise, who is passionate not only about French culture in general, but also safeguarding French cuisine so that France retains this unique attribute in international markets. To embody the “product” theme, Stephane Layani, President of Rungis International Market was named patron of this year’s celebrations.
Regional France on board
This year, the ripples from the Fete Nationale de la Gastronomie were felt all over France. In Paris, a series of cookery demonstrations took place at the Hotel de l’Industrie, complete with an “Exceptional Table” installation showcasing the work of some forty French companies recognised for their excellence in crafts and industry. In the south, Toulouse organised its 4th “gourmet” festival, 11-24th September, with a vast banquet as a showpiece, and involving some 3,000 local residents who were treated to a delicious spit-roast feast. In Oiron, in western France, the local school canteen gave pupils the opportunity to sample local products on a special discovery menu. A complete programme of activities is available on the official website.
In 2017, the Fete de la Gastronomie comprised an impressive 11,700 events in France and abroad, attracting 3 million visitors and involving 320,000 industry professionals. Three whole days were devoted to enjoyment, discovery and conviviality.