Fête de la Gastronomie
France's annual food fest offers a smorgasbord of culinary events, from cooking classes and recipe competitions to special tastings in top restaurants
In France, music has its own celebration day, Fête de la Musique (June 21st); even work gets a special date, Fête du Travail (May 1st), marked somewhat ironically by a day off. So what about food? In 2010, UNESCO classified France’s gastronomy as 'an intangible cultural heritage of humanity', but governing bodies have historically done very little to actively promote the survival of the country’s culinary traditions. But in 2011, a step was taken in the right direction with the inauguration of the Fête de la Gastronomie, which takes place this year on September 26–28. In Paris, this means a programme of events that bring together food professionals and the general public – from cooking demonstrations and recipe competitions to special lower-priced tasting menus in top restaurants.
The full list of events that make up the 2014 edition takes as long to digest as a dinner of foie gras on toast, but a browse through the website's interactive programme yields some highlights: a culinary boat tour along the Canal d'Ourcq (book here); a farmers' market in Bercy; a pop-up Dublin-flavoured café at the Centre Culturel Irlandais; and a sprawling festival of Creole cuisine. Keep an eye on the city's various cultural centres in particular – many organise one-off events that celebrate the culinary traditions of their respective countries. Bon appétit indeed.
For more information on the Fête de la Gastronomie (in French), click here.