Spent a lovely afternoon tasting lots and lots of goodies from all over France at the October 2005 Salons Fermiers (I may be spelling that wrong--forgive me--we tasted many lovely cognacs.) It is a farm show, but nothing like a traditional North Dakota Farm Show (there was not a tractor to be seen, and no one discussed fertilizer or pesticides.)
Everything you could think of was there, with lots of free samples. Foie gras, jambon cru (raw ham--we fell in love with it in Spain), mohair wool (too itchy for me--I like Merino), miel (honey), confitures (jams), fromage (cheese), cognac, vins (wines), confit des oignons (onions cooked and mixed with sugar and various other things), escargots, garlic, berries, nuts, ostrich meat, pintades, chickens, poules, ducks, rabbits, sausages...we even had a chance to play a "test your nose" game with different fragrances of Comté cheese (Kyliemac and I got 6/10). Tasted an amazing array of products, including a snail soup that tasted like something cleaned out from the bottom of an aquarium (blech!), amazing Foie Gras (too rich for my blood--my arteries started seizing up after 2 pieces), some onion confits (almost like a jam--but surprisingly good, especially on the foie gras), a mashed potato/melted cheese combination that looked like glue (but tasted pretty good), a hot pepper purée, and lots and lots and lots of cheese. We kept notes of what we liked so we could go back at the end and buy our favorites.
Metro'd home with 3 bottles of Pineau de Charantes (a delicious liqueur made from grape must and cognac--we chose 1 of the jeune rouge and 2 of the vieux rouge), a bottle of Pouilly-Fussé 2002, 2 chèvres (goat cheese) covered in this sort of grey, ashy material, another sheep's milk cheese that we nicknamed "the exploding cheese" because it looked like someone wearing corderoy pants sat on it (but it tasted amazing), a bottle of green, grassy and peppery olive oil that was, itself, exploding with flavor (and very well priced for such a fine, award-winning olive oil), a surprise for J's Mom (sshhhh!), and about 300 grams of Jambon Cru from Corse (Corsica). Plus, enjoyed an afternoon with new found friends, speaking a mixture of English and French, and eating lots of sort of free food.
Now try to do THAT at the North Dakota Farm Show.
I double-dog dare you to eat the snail soup.