Oranges and Lemons

You wouldn’t really know from looking at these photographs, but the weather last Saturday was particularly cold and windy.  I braved it to go to La Caunette for the Fete de la Bigarade, an annual event which always happens towards the end of February.P1010375

The Fete de la Bigarade takes place over two days, and for me there are always plenty of reasons to go:  Pepinieres Baches from Eus have a huge stand selling all kinds of wonderful citrus trees AND Seville oranges for making marmalade.

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This year I treated myself to a Kaffir Lime tree, whose wonderfully fragrant fruit and leaves are a “must have” ingredient for a Thai green curry.  Try it if you can get some fresh leaves!  There are so many different citrus trees and it’s all very tempting, especially when they have all the various citrus fruits laid out for inspection.

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There certainly is variety, and if I had more space in the garden and perhaps a greenhouse I would try some of the more tender varieties.  As it is I will have to make sure that I bring the Kaffir Lime tree inside before the first frost.  Another reason to go to this fete is that there are lots of other interesting plants, many of them from specialist nurseries, which come from far and wide.

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A lot of these plants are hardier than we imagine, and tolerate frost pretty well.

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I was very intrigued by the aloes, but could not think where I would put them without giving up something else in my garden.  Several of the exhibitors had their stands outdoors, among them my friend Gill from La Petite Pepiniere de Caunes, where I can always find something interesting – another reason for the visit.  Other exhibitors are located in one of the tents – Valerie Tubau from Le Jardin de Valerie in Agel was one of the lucky ones.  She was selling her new range of marmalade along with her regular preserves and jellies.  Her lemon marmalade is sensational and you can find her at St Chinian market every Sunday!

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This Clivia was found in another tent – I love the flowers but have not been very lucky growing this plant. Close by was a stand selling nothing but mimosas, and at another stand I found the beautiful Equisetum.  In the tent next door was a stand by Boulangerie Patisserie Claude Coussy from St Marcel sur Aude – they had some delicious crunchy cookies, which were orange flavoured.

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The fete takes place in and around the village hall in La Caunette, and in the hall there were several more stands, including a wonderfully colourful display of orchids,

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a stand selling all things saffron (Daniel Cazanave from Soual in the Tarn), among them this wonderful looking saffron syrup,

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and then there was chocolate!!  Emmanuel Servant of Douceurs d’Oc had brought along some great things.  Emmanuel is based in Marseillan (home of Noilly Prat – that’ll be in another post some time!) and produces wonderful hand-made chocolates.  He had some gorgeous looking (and tasting) chocolates involving oranges!

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And the pistachio cakes were great too!  Of course I also  came away with a bag of Seville oranges, which I’ll use to make a Seville orange tart, and my take on key lime pie, using Seville oranges instead of the limes.  No marmalade this year!  Oh, and somewhere I have a recipe for a Seville orange rice brulee, which is divine!  I can just see that this could be devastating to the waistline 🙂

This year I gave the lunchtime meal in the village hall a miss – it’s usually good fun and the menu looked great, but I’d arranged to see friends in La Caunette for lunch, so perhaps another year?

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13 thoughts on “Oranges and Lemons

  1. I miss this affair in La Caunette every year–it probably coincides with our weekend away each year but I would like to go one (warm) year. As always, enjoyed your post very much and the photos are lovely. I shall look for your friend’s marmalade at the market on Sunday.

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  2. Andreas Still reading your blogs now that we are back from our India trip. As you know we like La Caunette. We ought to try and be there next year. See you in a few days hopefully Regards to you both Peter

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  3. thank you for visiting our blog. yours is lovely. we can only dream of markets as shown in your stunning pictures. we may never get far from home but thanks to you we will be there through your pictures and be inspired to try to recreate some of what we have seen – those orange slices dipped in chocolate for example. really lovely site.

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    • Hi Denise and Sandy,
      I loved your Meyer Lemon post – my garden neighbour has a Meyer Lemon tree (now well covered with it’s own little greenhouse), and he gave me some fruits a little while ago. They really were outstandingly delicious! And the orange slices dipped in chocolate – they should not be too difficult to recreate. Enjoy…

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  4. Pingback: A starry mollusc | midihideaways

  5. Pingback: Marmalade Marathon | midihideaways

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