BUZZ: Le Voyage A Nantes & Guide Des Tables Politiques

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BUZZ: Le Voyage A Nantes & Guide Des Tables Politiques
“I fell in love with vegetables because they’re so much more colourful and perfumed than beef and fowl”, said chef Passard one day last week at his farm in Fillé sur Sarthe, near Le Mans. The eco-system, using no insecticides or mechanical machinery whatsoever, supplies Passard’s Paris restaurant with honey from 15 beehives, herbs, fruits and vegetables, from apples to zucchini. And, Passard’s a season freak, “I won’t look at a tomato until at least mid-June”, he insists. Hardly surprising then that the nearby Ville de Nantes asked the Breton born super-chef to parrain (sponsor) “Le Voyage A Nantes Summer Festival”, which, being France, has strong accents on all things culinary with a food festival running concurrently. With Passard at the helm, the “2nd Festival Les Gouts Uniques” is a travelling food festival criss-crossing the Pays de la Loire showcasing the region’s outstanding chefs, market gardeners, farmers, vineyard owners and wine producers. “The public are invited to meet chefs/producers at special events, markets, restaurants, to talk, taste and enjoy”, explains Passard. “But, there’s also national and international chefs and producers taking part, drawn by the bounty of Nantes and the region”, he adds. “Le Voyage A Nantes” culinary side takes in gastronomic Dinner Cruises on the Nantes-Saint Nazaire Estuary. The biggest galette/pancake bar in the world, read, a city transformed by culinary arts.  The opening event, in Angers, is “Eat Local” a country market where 50 stands featurie best local producers, cookery demonstrations etc. A special table d’hôtes is spread on the ancient Port de Verdun and guests bring their own starter which they can exchange or share, making new best friends. The main is based on the traditional red label Brittany raised Ancenis chicken, prepared by six local Anjou chefs with dessert based on edible flowers. Look out for Eric Bordelet, Passard’s former sommelier, now a seriously great cider producer.  And juice maven Alain Milliat, as well as Alexandre Couillon talented young toque at La Marine, Noirmoutier and Jon Irwin from boutique-restaurant Alain Milliat, Paris. Meanwhile, at Château des Ducs de Bretagne producers plan stands on the castle moat and Alain Passard creates two dinners, with a team of invited chefs, in the castle courtyard, animated by set designers Patrick Bouchan and Isabelle Allegret.  And, if you’re in Paris in August, note Passard is open. “Well, it’s obvious why I’m open that’s when my fruits, herbs and vegetables are at their best”, he explains patiently. “Voyage A Nantes” cultural, a 5-mile urban trial, runs from the railway station to the western tip of Ile de Nantes, the route links 30 permanent attractions. It can be accessed on foot, by bicycle and/or boat, taking in a diversification of projects, music, art, sculpture, the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany and Les Machines de L’Ile de Nantes (a former shipyard) where you’ll ride the mechanical giant, The Great Elephant. France’s sixth-largest city has come out as environment-friendly over the past 10 years, and next year will be Green Capital of Europe. The city’s eco policies are evident everywhere, from efficient public transport and bicycle friendly trails, to a new “green” skyscraper, Edouard Francois’ Le Tour Végétale, festooned with plants and trees all the way up its’ 17 storeys. Making Nantes “the place to be”. See you there! Voyage a NantesFrom June 15-August 19, 2012 Food Festival until September 9th 2012Cruise Dinner 30/40€ How to get there:2 hours from Paris Montparnasse by TGVWhere to Stay:Chambres D’Artistes Au Château Du Pé Alain Passard, L’Arpege,84 rue de Varenne, 7thMetro: Varenne,T: 01 47 05 09 06Shut Sat-Sun Paperback Writer: If you’re looking for a cute book to impress a French friend check out Gilles Brochard, author, broadcaster and Editor in Chief of “Cuisine Radio”, as well as tea-maven extraordinaire. His latest published bijou is Guide des Tables Politiques. Even if you don’t understand the French you’ll love to see the names learn the rules of dining for politicians, who, although they say they’re normal are anything but, “c’est à table qu’on gouverne”, said JB Bossault in 1700 and nothing much has changed since then. Francois Hollande is a regular at Laurent and La Rotonde, Montparnasse, as is his former partner Ségoléne Royal. His present squeeze Valerie Trierweiler favours Le Violon d’Ingres as do Carla Bruni Sarkozy and Charles Pasqua. Find Dominique de Villepin chez Auguste and Rachida Dati at L’Esplanade. The President and First Girlfriend chose Les Etangs de Corot to celebrate just before the inauguration, that’s not in the book but a good choice eh? Politics divide, a good table unites ! Gilles Brochard,Guide Secret des Tables Politiques,At all good booksellers and Drugstore, Champs Elysées,12.50€   Subscribe for FREE weekly newsletters. BonjourParis has been a leading France travel and French lifestyle site since 1995.     Readers’ Favorites: Top 100 Books, imports & more at our Amazon store We update our daily selections, including the newest available with an Amazon.com pre-release discount of 30% or more. Find them by starting here at the back of the Travel section, then work backwards page by page in sections that interest you. Current favorites, including bestselling Roger&Gallet unisex fragrance Extra Vieielle Jean-Marie Farina….please click on an image for details.

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Born in Hampton, Middlesex, UK, Margaret Kemp is a lifestyle journalist, based between London, Paris and the world. Intensive cookery courses at The Cordon Bleu, London, a wedding gift from a very astute ex-husband, gave her the base that would take her travelling (leaving the astute one behind) in search of rare food and wine experiences, such as the vineyards of Thailand, 'gator hunting in South Florida, learning to make eye-watering spicy food in Kerala;pasta making in a tiny Tuscany trattoria. She has contributed to The Guardian, The Financial Times Weekend and FT. How To Spend It.com, The Spectator, Condé Nast Traveller, Food & Travel, and Luxos Magazine. She also advises as consultant to luxury hotels and restaurants. Over the years, Kemp has amassed a faithful following on BonjourParis. If she were a dish she'd be Alain Passard's Millefeuille “Caprice d'Enfant”, as a painting: Manet’s Dejeuner sur l’herbe !