This year, the Fete du Cru Saint Chinian took place on July 20 – the Sunday after Bastille Day. As the poster hinted, it was a jolly occasion, and to my mind, a fete not to be missed! The Fete du Cru is a once-a-year happening, where the producers of AOC St Chinian wines have a chance to meet the public en-masse. I have previously written about the “wine” part of this Fete, and you can find the post here.
On Sunday morning, all 60 stands were manned by either wine makers or local food producers. My favourite goat’s cheese producer was there – Chevrerie de Combebelle – with a great selection of cheeses.
The Confrererie des Chevaliers du Saint-Chinian were inducting new members into their chapter, and they had invited other Conferereries from the area for the occasion. All were attired in sumptuous robes – I can only imagine just how warm it must get under those robes on a hot summer’s day! Each Confrererie has its own distinctive colours and the robes are generally designed to echo those colours.
Here are some details from the robes:
The Pena du Languedoc were keeping up the festive atmosphere with music (e-mail subscribers, please visit the site to watch the video):
At noon members of the Rugby Club of St Chinian were offering a sit-down meal in the gardens of the town hall. Everything had been prepared, the tables and chairs all set out under the trees, and people were getting ready to take their places when … it started to rain!!! :(. The rain wasn’t heavy, but there was thundering in the distance, and it looked as though we’d all get soaked if we stayed outside. Some quick thinking was done on the part of the organizers, and tables and chairs were carried into the cloisters 🙂 . We decided to make a dash for it too!
Outside, the cooking continued apace, despite the rain: huge pans of potatoes and meat were cooking over a fire, the stirring being done with a very clean-looking shovel!
Once we’d taken our seats in the cloisters, the volunteers started to get going with the service. Everyone received a small plate with a nectarine and a piece of individually wrapped camembert, a set of plastic cutlery, and a plastic cup. Someone else came by and dropped off baguettes. We were waiting for the wine, until we realised that we would be helping ourselves to that. Boxes of wine had been set up, along with a stash of clean and empty bottles, so we could draw off any colour we liked :).
The first course came in a square dish – a salad of fresh tomatoes, tuna fish, olives and egg – very tasty!
We’d seen the main course cooking outside, so there were no surprises to find potatoes and pork ( 🙂 ) on our plates, seasoned with garlic and parsley!
We followed that with the cheese and dessert (nectarine) which had already been served. The whole meal was very simple but delicious, and there was a great atmosphere in the cloisters!
All the time we were eating and drinking, the wine tasting continued in the main square!
See you there next year, perhaps??