Mange tout: 10 of the very best meals festivals in France | France holidays

La Fête du Citron, Menton

11-26 February
Beat the winter blues with a visit to one in all France’s sunniest cities: Menton is legendary for its lemons which thrive within the microclimate on this nook of the Côte d’Azur. For 2 weeks every February, the city celebrates all issues citrus with big sculptures constituted of 150 tonnes of oranges and lemons, which get offered off to locals for jam-making on the finish. This 12 months’s theme is rock and opera and there are strolling excursions of the groves, locals’ meals stands, particular menus within the eating places, and visits to the city’s many botanic gardens. However the spotlight is the carnivals that see big floats adorned with fruit, in addition to dancing and music troupes from world wide.

Foire au Boudin, Mortagne-au-Perche, Normandy

16-19 March

Black pudding is a neighborhood speciality of Mortagne-au-Perche. {Photograph}: M. Le Boucher

This fascinating honest within the depths of the Normandy countryside is for these with a penchant for charcuterie. The Foire au Boudin in Mortagne-au-Perche sees artisans from throughout Europe collect to rejoice essentially the most subtle of sausages, from black pudding, for which the city is thought, to white pudding, tripe and charcuterie. The handfuls of meals producers exhibiting additionally showcase France’s greatest cheeses, wines, ciders and spirits. There are chef and bakery demonstrations, too, however its most curious spectacle is the competitors that sees locals race to eat metre-long lengths of black pudding, to the cheers of the crowds.

Fête de l’Omelette Géante, Bessières, Occitanie

8-10 April

It’s mentioned that Bessières’ large omelette competition was impressed by Napoleon’s go to to an auberge close to the city, which served him such a scrumptious omelette that he insisted the chef cook dinner an enormous one for his military. There will not be a lot reality to the story, however the event has turn out to be a legend in itself. The primary occasion, on Easter Monday (10 April), kicks off with volunteers – a lot of whom belong to the World Brotherhood of the Knights of the Large Omelette – cracking 15,000 eggs; these are then seasoned, whisked and cooked in a four-metre frying pan set over a bonfire. The surprisingly scrumptious omelette, which is extra like scrambled eggs as soon as it’s been stirred, is then served at no cost to the two,000 festival-goers and celebrates the worldwide neighborhood that sees Bessières linked to 6 different large omelette festivals round world, from Belgium to New Caledonia.

Pageant Worldwide de la Soupe, Lille

1 Could, 3pm-10pm

The Wazemmes quartier in Lille is a melting pot of cultures all 12 months spherical, with its market that provides myriad cuisines from world wide – from Latin-American to Lebanese. Every spring, the neighbourhood comes collectively to rejoice its multiculturalism with the Pageant Worldwide de la Soupe. This vibrant competition takes place out there sq. and sees some 60 completely different stalls providing soups from world wide, in addition to recipes created by households, charity associations and different teams. The perfect one wins the star prize, La Louche d’Or – the golden ladle. There may be beer by the barrel-load in addition to a number of various worldwide music teams enjoying every part from Indian drums to massive band brass.

Féria du Melon, Cavaillon, Provence

Mid-July (dates TBC)

Cavaillon melon {Photograph}: Antoni Bastien/Alamy

Summer time within the Luberon sees an abundance of scrumptious fruit arrive on the markets, however the one with most fanfare is the Cavaillon melon. This number of the Charentais melon has been cultivated within the city for the reason that fifteenth century and the Féria du Melon sees guests handled to tastings and excursions of the producers’ farms, exhibitions, competitions and a carnival. In the meantime, the native guild – The Brotherhood of Knights of the Order of the Cavaillon Melon – get on with tasting the sunshine-infused fruit to search out the successful producer. Along with consuming melons, a key spotlight of the weekend is the operating of 100 Camargue horses across the streets.

Roscoff Onion competition, Brittany

Mid-August (date TBC)

The Roscoff Onion festival
Breton tradition is well known on the Roscoff Onion competition. {Photograph}: Alexandre Lamoureux

The gorgeous harbour city of Roscoff on Brittany’s north coast boasts a well-known export: onions. All through the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the so-called “Onion Johnnies” would promote their well-known alliums door-to-door from the handlebars of their bicycles all through Britain, giving rise to the stereotypical onion-clad picture of the Frenchman. Although Brexit put an finish to the dwindling custom, the fragile pink onions are nonetheless a treasured product within the space and the vigorous mid-August competition sees them celebrated in lots of varieties. There are onion-string-plaiting competitions, visits to farms, Breton music and dancing, and large vats of confit onions are cooked and served on the native speciality galette-saucisse, a sausage wrapped in a buckwheat pancake.

La Fête de la Figue, Solliès-Pont, Provence

25-27 August

The Var’s Gapeau Valley is famous for its fig orchards.
The Var’s Gapeau Valley is legendary for its fig orchards. {Photograph}: Hemis/Alamy

The city of Solliès-Pont within the Var’s Gapeau Valley is legendary for its fig orchards that produce about 2,500 tons of the fruit every year and 75% of France’s total fig harvest. The bushes thrive within the considerable sunshine and water from the River Gapeau, whereas being sheltered by the 700-metre Mont Coudon. The harvest kicks off every year in August, when the city throws an enormous celebration for its Fête de la Figue. By day, guests can browse the various stalls promoting every part from recent figs, principally the Violette selection, in addition to tarts, jams, liqueurs and myriad Provençale specialities. There are cooking demonstrations and fig trails by means of the valley, however the primary occasion is the opening evening dinner within the city’s central plane-tree-shaded sq.. Every one of many 4 programs options figs in a roundabout way, whereas an brisk covers band performs and locals dance within the sq. lengthy into the evening.

Fête de la Chataigne, Collobrières, Provence

15, 22 and 29 October

Simply an hour inland from Saint-Tropez, the little city of Collobrières is ready within the Massif des Maures’ cork oak and chestnut forests and is altogether extra rustic than the Côte d’Azur. Well-known for its chestnuts, the city celebrates its harvest for 3 Sundays in October, with parades, live shows and a market promoting all kinds of chestnut merchandise from candy chestnut paste to liqueur. A number of producers roast chestnuts over braziers, resulting in a scrumptious aroma filling the air. Native eating places set out their tables on the road beneath the yellowing airplane bushes, and serve the normal daube stew made with chestnuts and wild boar – it’s a technique of controlling their damaging inhabitants.

Fête du Piment, Basque Nation, Nouvelle-Aquitaine

28-29 October

Chillies adorn a houe in Espelette.
Chillies adorn a home in Espelette. {Photograph}: Pauline Cutler/Alamy

The French aren’t keen on spicy chilli peppers, however they do have a penchant for the gentler warmth that comes with piment d’Espelette. They had been first dropped at the world from Mexico within the sixteenth century, and have become standard as a result of they flourished within the heat but humid local weather of the foothills of the Pyrenees, half an hour inland from Saint-Jean-de-Luz. The annual Fête du Piment marks the top of the harvest season and is a vigorous mixture of live shows, marching bands and Basque dancing, in addition to tastings, cookery workshops, drinks events and banquets, with locals all dressed within the Basque nation’s conventional outfits, all in purple and white.

Turkey soup being prepared in Licques, near Calais.
Turkey soup being ready in Licques, close to Calais. {Photograph}: Liz Garnett/Alamy

Fête de la Dinde, Licques, Hauts -de -France

Mid-December; dates TBC

The tiny city of Licques, simply half an hour inland from Calais, has been well-known for its poultry for the reason that native abbey’s monks started rearing turkeys within the seventeenth century. Every year, the locals and its 80 poultry producers (of a inhabitants of simply over 1,600) rejoice this historical past. The primary occasion kicks off with la potée, the hotpot – an enormous cauldron warmed by a fireplace pit comprises tasty, warming turkey soup which is served to attendees. Native producers carry their reside turkeys to point out off and that are herded by kids up the road, adopted by a parade of brotherhoods (guilds) representing different regional meals specialities, with everybody stopping for mulled wine and spicy rooster wings from stalls alongside the way in which. The ensemble gathers in an enormous marquee, the place the competition feast of roast turkey and chips is served. There’s a meals market at which to refill for the festive interval, providing every part from poultry to cheese and wine.