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France: A year of food fests


France's famed foods and their producers are the focus of food festivals all over the country, with a bit of something for almost every taste. Some feature foods widely-known, and others concentrate on unusual local situations.

The Guardian (UK) recently compiled a list for this year, with events all over the country, starting with the on-now Fête du Citron in Menton, on the Riviera, honoring citrus of all kinds, including huge sculptures made from 150 tonnes of oranges and lemons.

La Fête du Citron, Menton

Next month, from March 16-19, the Normandy town of Mortagne-au-Perche will hold a Foire au Boudin, with lots of meat, cheese and wine, but especially the town's claim-to-fame: Black pudding, or boudin.

A legend in Bessieres says that Napoleon was so impressed with an omelette he ate there that he ordered the chef to make a giant one for his army. Truth or not, it's the centerpiece of the Fête de l’Omelette Géante, which will see local volunteers creating a four-metre wide frying pan with 15,000 eggs.

Lille's Wazemmes neighborhood is a melting pot of cultures from Latin American to Lebanese, so their festival, on May Day, is built around soup—60 different kinds, vying for the prize, the Golden Ladle.

Produce is the centerpiece for some festivals, including the Féria du Melon in Cavaillon, Provence in mid-July; the mid-August Roscoff Onion festival in Brittany and the late-August Fête de la Figue in Sollies-Pont, Provence.

The fall has festivals coming up, too: Chestnuts in October in Provence, peppers in Basque Country also in October, and Turkeys in mid-December in Licques, Hauts-de-France. That one includes turkey soup, roast turkey and a turkey parade, with the birds herded by local children.

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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