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Posts tagged ‘Salon l’Agriculture’

No. 158-159: Better than the Stock Show & Martinique Revisited

I know I have some diehard rodeo and cowboy/girl readers in Colorado and the West, so please don’t be offended, but I have to say, I enjoyed my day at the Salon l’Argiculture this past weekend more than I have ever enjoyed the Great Western Stock Show in Denver. Please don’t throw any rotten tomatoes my way, but I had a heck of a time standing slack-jawed eyeing the fine bovine, porcine, and ovine of France, in, of all places, the Paris exposition hall.

I don’t know what I was thinking it would be like. I tried not to read any blogs or adverts ahead of time so I would be surprised by the French interpretation of a Stock Show. And surprised I was—mostly by the fact that these huge, prize-winning animals were holed up in gay Par-ee. I know France is a country in love with their food, and their high quality ingredients, so it makes sense to showcase them all in their capital city. It’s just that I don’t normally associate the City of Light with livestock.

Now, in a state with a blazing-eyed, 32-foot high (9,000-pound) electric blue, anatomically correct, wild mustang welcoming visitors as they land at their airport (i.e. Denver, Colorado), I find it much easier to make that association. Denver and livestock, they go hand-in-hand.



So I was very surprised to see this “little” guy, when I walked into the first expo hall at Porte de Versailles


…along with all his friends and competitors.

There were of course the adorable intertwined piglets and baby goats…

…and a few lessons on where our cuts of beef come from…perhaps I should become a vegetarian?

A whole hall dedicated to cats and dogs…hmmm…I don’t want to be eating those.

….hmmm…don't want to eat those...

….hmmm…don’t want to eat those…

And of course, my favorite part, the halls full of artisanal and farm fresh agricultural products.

There were some lunch options you most definitely would NOT find in Denver…

…and I’ve never seen olive oil being pressed or liqueur made from cèpes (mushrooms) in my hometown either.

Nor the cheese, glorious chèvre! There were even milk bars serving both cow’s and goat’s milk.

Et enfin, we were able to revisit Martinique, the French department in the Caribbean where we were lucky enough to create some very happy Christmas memories.

Alors, Yippee-Ki-Yay! Or as we say back in Colorado, “Howdy Folks! Welcome to Golden Paris. Where the West Lives.”



No. 157: Even Burnt Cake!

Yesterday at the Salon l’Agriculture one of the many interesting things I came across was this:


My first thought was, “Yum! A large chocolate globe.” My second thought was, “Is that burnt?”

Turns out I was right on track with the whole overcooked thing. After taking a few pictures and catching the twinkle in the eye of the vendeur, I summoned up the courage to ask him just exactly what the heck those big black, burnt things were. Noticing of course, that I speak French with an accent, he asked me where I was from. When I told him I was from the States, he said, in French, “This is the French version of New York Cheese Cake, the Tourteau Fromagé”, or the Cheese Crab.

cheese crabs….

cheese crabs….

They do look a little like giant crabs, don’t you think? They are also known as Tortue Fromagé (Cheese Turtle) and Tourteaux Fromagé (Cheese Cakes).

I had never laid eyes on a Tourteau Fromagé until 24-hours ago, but already I’m a convert. How is it that the French can even make burnt cake taste good??

The Cheese Crab/Cake is a specialty of the Poitou-Charente region in Southwest France, and not usually found at a boulangerie or a pâtisserie, but rather in a fromagerie—especially those that specialize in goat cheese.

To set the record straight, it is nothing like New York Cheese Cake, but it is a lot like a springy and airy Angel Food Cake, with a bit of tangy sweetness.

The cake’s story is one I can relate to: a harried baker accidently shoved a goat-cheesy gâteau into a blistering-hot oven. She smelled something burning, and opened the oven to find a blackened and hardened crusted cake. Obviously she must have been having company, because she tried desperately to salvage it. She lowered the temperature, crossed her fingers, and hoped for the best. To her surprise, the burnt crust protected the inside of the cake, and her finished creation was a spongy, sweet but slightly tart, absolutely perfect cake.

After sharing one with my family last night, I must admit, it seems like a very versatile creation. You could eat it as a breakfast cake with a café au lait, or at lunch with a little fruit on top, or it would be divine after dinner with some strawberry ice cream, and maybe just a wee bit of chocolat noir. It also seems very well suited for a picnic or car trip as it would take a good deal of force to flatten this crab / turtle en route.


When I asked the vendeur if I should eat the crust, his response was, “Comme vous voulez!” I liked it better without the crust, but admittedly, I ate a slice with the crust. Yes. It tasted markedly burnt. Mais it’s a thin crust, and the inside is most definitely worth tasting.


boulangerie: bakery

chocolat noir: dark chocolate

Comme vous voulez: As you like.

fromagerie: cheese shop

gâteau: cake

mais: but

pâtisserie: pastry shop

vendeur: seller, merchant

No. 155: A Munchy, Crunchy Tower


Imagine how healthy we would be if this was our “food pyramid”…the edible Eiffel Tower…