“Eating Seasonally & Locally” is a notion that many of us have lost touch with since strawberries are so easy to find in December, courgettes in February and mangoes in Paris. The international food industry has successfully made every fruit & vegetable permanently accessible to us, even when not in season and grown thousands of miles away. One of the many downsides to this system is that the produce needs to be conditioned in order to travel around the world so by the time it reaches us it’s ‘freshness’ is debatable to say the least.
France’s culinary traditions have helped them resist this crazy system and made them less willing to comprise on quality. This means that local produce, which is not frozen, treated or preserved, will always be their first priority, anything that falls short is simply not considered. They plan their meals based on the best available produce, not the other way around.
The French tend to shop little and often, avoiding the bulk supermarket shop we all loathe. They very rarely go shopping and stock up on frozen foods or treated produce to last the month because they simply prefer things ‘straight from the vine’. If you’ve ever wandered through a bustling French market you will have noticed that shopping is a pleasure here rather than a chore. Seasonality is at the heart of the noisy market banter where vendors offer advice, recipes and encourage you to try before you buy.
Oh and don’t forget the colours and variety. The displays are artworks and the different choices will leave you wanting to try it all. The great news is that with fresh & ripe basic produce, rustling up a delicious meal is easy, quick and fun. So if you haven’t tried it, or have lost the habit, we hope that some simple seasonal recipes from a local chef will tempt you back to the market and your kitchen.
This month we asked Riviera Chef Eliane, from La Serviette Blanche, to share a couple of mouthwatering but simple February recipes. She came up with this tasty meal of Slow Cooked Sausages with Buttery Cabbage and French Lemon Tart. YUM!
To join one of Eliane’s cookery classes in Cannes book HERE…
Photos provided by Mira Maclean