Wednesday, June 26, 2013

La Foire de Javarzay, Chef Boutonne

French Village Diaries Chef Boutonne Deux Sevres Foire de Javarzay
Romanesque Church Javarzy, Chef Boutonne
Today in Javarzay, part of our local town of Chef Boutonne roads were closed, some shops too and everyone was out in the streets to celebrate the annual Foire de Javarzay (fête). This is something that has occurred every year on 26th of June since 1821 and began as the annual goose fair (or foire aux pirons – pirons is the local patois for goose or oies in French). Today it is more a general street market, although first thing in the morning you can still buy chickens, ducks, geese, guinea fowl and quail under the shadow of the Romanesque church in Javarzay. Although the market is only there for one day there is also a funfair and beer and restaurant tents that have been there for a few days with a firework celebration bringing it to a close tomorrow evening. It is looked forward to by young and old, especially as the children all get a free ride token for the fair given out at school (this is both a lovely gesture and great marketing policy!). We were amused to see a number of older folks, heavily clad in nylon, meeting with friends for a drink and walking around the funfair. We weren’t sure if they were planning on going on the rides, or rather just enjoying a spot of conviviality, sunshine and watching the younger generation having a great afternoon. It certainly seemed the tradition of attending the fair is still alive and well.

French Village Diaries Chef Boutonne Deux Sevres Foire de Javarzay
Time to get your ducks and geese for Christmas

French Village Diaries Chef Boutonne Deux Sevres Foire de Javarzay
The market in Javarzay

The thing that always sparks my curiosity is the eel man. He is there every year with his box of live eels that are for sale at 19.90€ a kilo or his barbecued eels at 36€ a kilo. He takes the eels carefully with a pair of tongs, whacks them over the head a couple of times and places them on the hot coals, fresh they most certainly are and they smell delicious. However I have never eaten eels, are they fishy or meaty? Do they contain lots of small, fiddly bones or just one big backbone? I would love to try them, but I haven’t yet been brave enough – I certainly don’t need (or rather can’t afford) a kilo of cooked eels. We did sample many lovely cheeses, hams and saucisson, with some favourites from the Auvergne coming home to join us for aperos.



French Village Diaries Chef Boutonne Deux Sevres Foire de Javarzay
Fresh eels
French Village Diaries Chef Boutonne Deux Sevres Foire de Javarzay
Cooked eels