Thursday, May 26, 2011

Day 8: Countdown to Provence: Celebrating Food and Life

Fête de la Tomate
Have you heard the buzz about food festivals that will abound this summer in the US? Last Sunday’s Parade Magazine article, Hungry, Eat Your Way Across America illustrated the wide variety of places to celebrate the glory of specific foods in its May 22 issue. What better way to celebrate life and the bounty summer? How about the watermelon festival in Hope, Arkansas, Aug. 11-13 or the Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California, July 29-31? My mouth waters thinking about the Huckleberry Festival in Montana in August. I picked these unforgettable berries in the mountains of Idaho as a kid. Why had I imagined that only the French were crazy enough for food to host festivals that celebrate a single food? Check out these delectable festivals in all 50 states at

My husband and I've been to Jazz, lace, apple, tomato, and even a spelt (wheat) festivals during our annual treks through France each year for the past decade . The most remarkable and memorable festivals were the 2008 Fête de la Tomate on the grounds of the Chateau de la Bordelière and the Jazz festival in suburb of Mont Louis Sur-Loire just outside of Tours. At the Fête de la Tomate we tasted from among the 600 varieties of tomatoes and delighted in their dedication to saving heirloom varieties for future generations through their seed program. The shapes and colors ranged dramatically. Who ever heard of a white tomato? Can you imagine varieties of tomatoes like Paul Robson, Brandywine Pink, and Creamed Sausage? That day convinced us that there’s nothing better than a magnificent slice of tomato drizzled with a little olive oil and washed down with a good glass of wine “bien sur.”

When we weren’t delighting in tomatoes, or visiting the gardens and chateaus of la vallée de la Loire, we were kicking back at the Jazz Festival listening to Jazz musicians like Joe Henderson (American Saxophonist) and his band while enjoying “diner”and a glass of wine. 

What sorts of festivals can we choose from this summer in France? See below for a sampling.


Gastronomy by the Seine, Annual Paris Culinary Summit

Cycle Festival, Aix-en-Provence

Music in the Streets, Aix-en-Provence

International Festival of Lyric Arts, Aix-en-Provence

Foire de St. Jean, Craft Fair, Flea, and Sardines, Aix-en-Provencce


Wine Festival, Aix en Provence

Melon Festival, Cavaillon, Provence

Lavender Festival, Montélimar endormes Provence

Raspberry Festival, Concezi


Fête d’Olives (Green), Mouries, Provence

Jazz, Avignon

Fêtes de Vin, Gordes, Provence

So whether you are in the US, France, or elsewhere this summer, we wish you a grand celebration of food and life.

Ah, hold on a minute. With all the enthusiasm about food, what about losing weight? The timing is good. Some of the lowest calorie foods that are packed with nutrition come with the bounty of summer. Think tomatoes, berries, and watermelon, and salads. And it’s a great time of year to step up your physical activity. The new Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 recommend that we increase our fruit and vegetable intake. The message is, “Make fruits and vegetables half your plate.”

If you’re planning to lose weight this summer, what are your strategies?

Jazz Touraine

1 comment:

  1. Hi all,

    Did you see the article in the New York Times yesterday? The article discusses the replacement for the Food Guide Pyramid to be announced next Thursday. Notice the emphasis on eating more fruits and vegetables. The article is located at:

    Have a great weekend!