French festivals: gourmet frogs in Vittel

French festivals: gourmet frogs in Vittel
French festivals: gourmet frogs in Vittel

The French thermal resort of Vittel once a year becomes a place of pilgrimage for the gourmets from all over France. Frog food festival (La Foire aux Grenouilles à Vittel) is held here at the last weekend of April. On the main square of the town are installed a lot of tents and open tables (it is a great proud for each local restaurant or cafe to present their own meals at the festival), where the resort guests and residents can taste a great amount of frog delicacies with excellent local Chardonnay.

La Foire aux Grenouilles annually attracts about 50,000 visitors, who eat about seven tons of frog legs during the two days of the festival. It is a very large number, because an average it needs 30 kilos of frogs to make one kilogram of legs.

The first frog festival was held in Vittel 34 years ago. It was organized by the chef René Clément, who also founded the "Brotherhood of frog legs tasters". Its members can easily be found at the festival. They wear green coats and yellow shirts.

Frogs have long been a symbol of culinary delights and a component of French chefs’ image. However, it was not always so. For the first time these amphibians were eaten by the poor French peasants in the XI century to avoid the Catholic Church ban for meat during the Lent. The high class first tasted frogs only in the nineteenth century. However, frog legs became popular worldwide only in 1908, when the famous chef in the Paris Carlton Hotel Auguste Escoffier amazed the Prince of Wales and prepare for him a dish called "Nymph’s hips." Auguste Escoffier was assisted by the Vietnamese Nguyen Tat Thanh, who is known worldwide as Ho Chi Minh – the Vietnamese Communist chief.

Ilya Kozlovskiy

Date: 17/03/2012

Comments (0)

No comments