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A Fair D’État

3 March 2007

My friend Kelly Sans Culotte is heading off to the Salon d’Agriculture (Agriculture Expo) in Paris this week, and I’m incredibly envious. I once organized an entire trip to Paris so I could attend this event, where farmers from all over France bring their livestock to the big Porte de Versailles convention center on the outskirts of the 15th Arrondissement.

I think it was Yann-Arthus Bertrand‘s photographs of larger-than-life cattle, sheep and pigs with their proud owners that convinced me I needed to attend. Well, that and finding out that the Salon was like a big state fair with wine and cheese contests instead of giant pumpkin and pie-eating contests. After you’ve visited the livestock, you can stroll through the two hangar-sized buildings filled with booths selling representative foods from all the different regions of France and treat yourself to the Salon’s answer to funnel cakes and corn dogs: crepes and foie gras. blonds_daquitaine.jpg

When I was studying cooking in Paris, I dragged some school chums to the fair to ogle the Blonds — the Blonds D’Aquitaine, that is. This breed of beef cattle comes from the Southwest part of France originally. I could swear that some of the blond cows we saw were larger than most of the Renaults and Smart Cars I saw driving around Paris.

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