April 16, 2014

Marsannay la Côte Food Festival

Just a little bit south of the city of Dijon is the wine village of Marsannay-la-Côte. For 31 years, in the heart of grand crus, the town has invited locals and tourists alike to their “Gourmet Days.” Over a March weekend, dozens of vendors congregate in the town gym to showcase food from here and from there. The mayor speaks, the local Confrérie plays host, and, of course, the wine flows.

Food and photos always bring the politicians
From the ceiling hang giant kite-like dragons, butterflies, and other colorful beasts. It is difficult to decipher if this is part of the food day or just happenstance. Regardless, on the ground, the objectives are clear as a mountain morning: Tables sag under the weight of caloric treasures. 

Two men from the Jura sell sausages as thick as a forearm and cheeses in wheels that could fit a tractor. The artisan charcutier is doling out samples of his jambon persillé three ways: original, with mustard, and with foie gras. The latter is a taste sensation, and results in more than one billfold shrinking. Back by the entry, a woman and her teenage daughter are offering slices of horsemeat sausages. 

Across the room, a team is peddling dozens of types of…lasagna? Yes, lasagna. With mushrooms, snails, scallops, sausage, vegetables, bacon, tuna, smoked ham, or salmon. You kind of shake your head, wondering how they stay in business selling nothing but lasagna, but also applaud their audacity and their passion.

Lasagna ten ways
Sweets are also front and center. Along with a chocolate fountain, there are homemade pâte de fruits (jellied fruits), macarons, colorful lollipops, and even some French attempts at classic American cookies. An artisan was dipping perfect little squares of crunchy wafers into a dark, melted pool of delicious, extracting them with tweezers before placing them on wire racks to cool. The transformation from rustic simplicity to classy elegance was breathtakingly quick.

The people were passionate about their products, dedicated to their work, and eager to share their quality with consumers. As this festival clearly has staying power, it is worth checking out if you are in the region.

What: Journées Gourmandes Food Festival
Where: Marsannay-la-Côte, Côte d’Or, Burgundy
When: March weekend
How Much: Entry is a couple/few euros

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