This morning’s news sees a chronic butter shortage in Denmark, a banana price fixing conspiracy by a Belgium company, irradiated baby food in Japan and a South African government minister involved in the United Nations Oil for Food Programme. On the lighter side, one of my favourite chefs, Anthony Bourdain, gets his knickers in a knot and the 2011 Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival kicks off, ready to wow locals and visitors & finally, today I’ve included a list of Christmas Markets to visit in France.
Food & Drink Digital Anthony Bourdain never ceases to impress me but never more so than when he lambasted wannabe Marcel Vigneron of Top Chef who tries but fails so hard to be a second Ferran Adrià. Vigneron shot to fame on Top Chef with the foamy food he called molecular gastronomy. Bourdain, you rock! Norway’s The Local Danish dairy producers won’t be exporting butter to their Norwegian neighbours for a while because, frankly, they need it for themselves; the preference for natural, locally produced products has seen a dramatic butter shortage in Scandinavia. Food & Drink Digital Spilled wine is always a shame but when 5,544 bottles of 2010 Mollydooker Velvet Glove shiraz wine is destroyed because of a forklift malfunction, it becomes a tragedy and it happened in Adelaide this week; my sympathies to all affected. Food & Drink Digital There’s nothing more deplorable than price fixing because it always affects us, the consumer, in a bad way. This time Pacific Fruit, a Belgium based produce distributor owned by Firma Leon Van Parys NV, has angered the European Unio and that’s something I wouldn’t relish for myself; they conspired to fix banana prices in Greece, Italy & Portugal between July of 2004 & April 2005 and I would have liked them to get a roasting but then they found a way out. Global Spin Yesterday Japanese food producer Meiji recalled 400,000 tins of infant formula after traces of radioactive cesium were found in the company’s milk powder and here’s why. Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch The Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival, the biggest charity event of the season, kicks off this Friday and will last for 5 glorious days featuring the best-of-the-best chefs, out of this world food and a host of new events; it will also feature a scholarship programme so don’t miss it. The tickets will be limited so get your tickets now. Politicsweb The Commission of Inquiry that was set up by South African President Zuma in October this year will be released today and finally (we hope) we’ll get the skinny on which South African companies (or individuals) acted illicitly in the United Nations Oil – for Food Programme in Iraq.
CHRISTMAS MARKETS IN FRANCE
- Amiens Christmas Market – is the largest market in the north of France and starts on the 25th November, lasting until the 31st December; this year the whole city centre will become the imaginary world of Jules Verne so the children will really have something to enjoy while the parents go back in time to the books of their childhood. There will be loads of gifts, arts, crafts, decorations and delicious food.
- Arras Christmas Market – is set against the arcades of the Grand’Place & has become one of the most important Christmas markets in the north of Paris; there are over 60 exhibitors, a new pedestrian shopping street which opens, entirely dedicated to the preparation of the Christmas party; it lasts from the 27th November & lasts until the 24th of December .
- Avignon Christmas Market -is in Provence, lasts from the 1st December to the 30th December & traditionally lasts 40 days to finish at Candlemas when the families meet around the nativity scene on the 24th of December after midnight mass for a “big supper” that will invariably end with the thirteen desserts.The magnificent Christmas Market is on the Place de l’Horloge where you can see the Chemin des Crèches and take a walk through the many different animated & illuminated nativity scenes where you’ll be able to see the traditional santons figures and, of course, there will be many parades.
- Bethune Christmas Market – is in the central square next to the Belfry and the whole town becomes a Christmas town; the square of the Sous-Préfecture and the hotel de Beaulaincourt will host approximately 40 Flemish-style chalets selling festive crafts by local producers.
- Caen Christmas Market – starts on the 26th November & lasts until the 24th of December & it showcases local artists & traders which makes it the best place for arts and crafts around; there are 53 stalls that sell the famous Santon figurines for Christmas mangers. Of course there’s loads of foie gras and gingerbread so you won’t go hungry and for the little ones, Santa walks around and hands out gifts (for which you’ll pay).
- Lille Christmas Market – Lille is in the north of France and lasts from 19th November to 30th December; it consists of 83 wooden chalets and are open every; you’ll find plenty of Christmas decorations, loads of festive food, arts and crafts. There’s an 18-meter high Christmas tree & the main square is transformed into a winter wonderland.
- Mulhouse Christmas Market – Place de la Réunion in the historic heart of the city is home to the Christmas Market and the Place de la Concorde welcomes a traditional Hungarian Village of Arts and Crafts. Advent concerts take place every week in the beautiful St Etienne Protestant church & there’s sing-along so that the congregants can join the church choir.
- Strasbourg Christmas Market – takes place from the 26th to the 31st December and it’s the oldest & largest Christmas market in France & situated in front of Strasbourg Cathedral which, with its Gothic towers & famous astronomical clock, is really worth seeing; the market has over 300 chalets, and a beautiful Christmas tree can be found on the Place Kléber; for the more active, there’s also a skating rink on Place du Château; there’s loads of food but I suggest you go straight for the sausages and choucroute and the famous three-meat bäckeoffe stew.
The following markets are also worth visiting:
- Angers (Pays de la Loire),
- Le Marché de Noël de la Place des Dominicains (Colmar, Alsace)
- Lyon Christmas Market
- Metz Christmas Market,
- Christmas Market of the Alpes/Marché de Noël des montagnes (Grenoble)
- Nantes Christmas Market (Pays de la Loire)
- Christmas Market Sélestat (Alsace)
- Champagne Village de Noël (Reims)