La Fète du Ventre à Rouen – The Festival of the Stomach.

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My ‘husband à l’etranger’ flew into France yesterday, and what better way to re-immerse him into French culture and gastronomie than the Fète de Ventre. I love that the French can name a fète directly after ‘the stomach’.

After the rains of Nigeria, Normandie welcomed him back to a day of  leaden skies and endless drizzle . The damp weather didn’t hold back the crowds though, and by mid afternoon it was almost impossible to make our way through the street.

Of course one of the nicest aspects of such a fète are the ‘petits goûters’ (little tastes) on offer.

and the make-shift oyster bars were busy…

with a well placed beer bar next door!

But  there were far too many distractions to stop straight away to eat, though we did eat extremely well a bit later on!

A mobile bread oven,

and bubbling chouxcroute,

The watercress (cresson) is grown on a beautiful small-holding on the edge of the smallest river in France, right along-side the riverside path at Veules les Roses. A definite must on the ‘day-trip’ list in early summer. If you are really lucky, fresh watercress can be bought directly from the farmer tending his crop and picked from its watery meadow, ready to be made into fresh watercress soup for lunch.

But it was the chocolatier that led me astray,

and not just with his charm and good looks!

…where else would you find molten chocolate being expertly fabricated into truffles on a rainy street?

Or a whole pig wearing a bib?

Fresh vegetables,

and locally produced preserves.

‘Husband à l’etranger’ raved over the honey cake….

… and then continued on to sample the flaky pastry with goats cheese and apple.

Sadly there were no hot and oozing garlicy ‘escargots’, only ones to take away. And then we came upon the apple press..

and the finished product.

The smell of freshly baked bread coming from a second mobile bread oven drew us in.

And there, amongst all these french producers, the lone Englishman with a range of beers brewed near the Mont Saint Michel; a business started four years ago and successfully growing year on year. Because the truth of it is that as much as we adore the traditional French products and their local artisans, the French also love traditional English products, and what’s more unusual than traditional British Mobsby’s beer brewed locally in Normandy.

And after all that tasting and sampling, it was time to settle at a café for sunday lunch. It was, after all..

…The Fète of the Stomach!

Bon appetit!