March 21, 2014


In a place where thousand-year-old churches dominate villages, where there are theme parks dedicated to Gallo-Roman history, where towers are labeled “12th Century,” and people still discuss the Dukes of Burgundy, finding something “new” isn’t always easy.

In Dijon, however, a new food festival has taken root. Délissime marked its second year in the capital of Burgundy in March 2014. Housed in the Parc des Expositions, right off the tram line, it is a celebration of all things culinary.

Taking place over three days, visitors can dip their toes into the warm waters of French gastronomy and viniculture. Armed with a tasting glass, the entrant can voyage around more than 80 stalls offering food delights from Burgundy and other parts of France. There are specialties of the southwest (duck legs, duck breasts, duck in duck fat, duck bolognese, the inside bits of duck, including duck hearts, duck gizzards, duck liver) and the sea (ocean beans, fish soups with their accompanying jars of bright orange rouille). A woman hawks spices from around the world, from Hawaiian black salt to smoky paprika. The Provencal vendor offers forth bites of Camargue beef.

Duck fifty ways
The assault on the palate inevitably leads to a craving for drink. Happily, event organizers have anticipated your need and invited winemakers from Provence, Alsace, the Loire Valley, and, of course, Burgundy to help slack your thirst.

The organizers have also taken a few chances. In the middle of prideful Dijon, a gastronomic city, an Italian vendor is peddling his specialties. Here is mortadella big around as a telephone pole. There is porchetta cut straight from a pig laid out on the table, golden and delicious, with a knife standing at attention in its back.

Italians love pig as much as the French do
Though obviously still getting its legs (the festival was poorly advertised and far from "crowded"), and despite some small concerns that the group managing the festival is organizing them around the country (will it become cookie-cutter? Or will it remain unique, region-by-region?), this festival is worth the price of admission. Spend the Friday morning at the best market in the Côte d’Or (perhaps all of Burgundy) under les Halles de Dijon, treat yourself to a nice lunch, and head to Délissime in the late afternoon as people begin to get off work and start their weekend. Inside, raise a glass to Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy from 1467-1477, and celebrate the new.

What: Food festival Délissime
Where: Parc des Expositions (Tram: Auditorium), Dijon, Côte d’Or, Burgundy
When: March
How Much: Entry is 5 euros but the website offers reductions to 3 euros including a wine tasting glass.

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