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France: Channel food and drink
We all love the Frech food and wine but it's not all one way. Believe it or not, we can teach our continental cousins a thing or two too.
Top of the list of souvenirs to return from trips to France - whether a day trip booze cruise or a week in Provence - is always food and wine, but not always in that order.
Without a doubt, you can still make huge savings by buying abroad: a glance along the shelves of any French supermarket is enough to stop you buying wine in the UK ever again.
London Olympia's Vive La France show
Our love for Gallic fare has seen a sprouting of French markets across the south east, selling anything from garlic tresses and lavender to fresh croissants and tartiflette. The annual Vive La France exhibition that fills London Olympia demonstrates that we can't get enough...
The fight back
But the flow of food and wine is not all northerly. A recent marketing initiative by KCC-backed Produced In Kent, called 'Flavours of the Region' has engaged food and drink producers on both sides of the Channel in a sort of 'show and tell' exchange.
So, at the 2006 Kent County Show, we had French producers selling their goods to happy punters and in Arras, on the other side of the pond, Kentish fare was pitched at the French.
French food at the Kent County Show
The French are famously protective about anything home-grown and food is no different. But some Kent suppliers appear to have made a bit of a splash across the water, notably the producers of marmalades and cakes.
Julie Mackintosh is the campaign manager of Flavours of the Region, an EU Interreg funded project: "They love cream teas, they love a bit of tea and cake in the afternoon."
And, believe it or not, they're also developing a nose for our Kent wines. A recent fact-finding mission by French sommeliers to Biddenden Vineyard in Kent, has some surprising results, as Julian Barns, vineyard manager admits: "They were very intrigued - they acknowledged that in this country we dare to be different."
"If we can do it 20 miles further north there is no reason why they can't do it. The president of their society said he'd be quite interested in planting a vineyard near Boulogne."
Click on the NEXT link for the complete guide to buying food and wine in France
last updated: 27/05/2008 at 15:40