How and what and where we eat has gone through a seismic change in the past couple of decades. Where once a plate of paella or lasagne would have been seen as quite the sophisticated statement, such dishes are now boringly mainstream freezer-cabinet staples.
If we needed any proof as to how adventurous we have become, along comes the just-released Lonely Planet Ultimate Eatlist, a compilation of the world’s top 500 eating experiences chosen by writers, chefs, bloggers and Lonely Planet staff. Their aim was to create a directory not just of the world’s great dishes, but to evaluate them in terms of the whole gastronomic experience, taking into account not just taste, but cultural importance and location.Top of the list enjoying pintxós (the Basque version of tapas) in San Sebastián, Spain.
The rest of the top ten is a brisk global buffet of laksa, sushi, dim sum, bibimbap, with a bit of Texas brisket thrown in for the outdoorsy sorts, and smørrebrød in Copenhagen for the city break types.
In the French village I visit each summer, one of the most popular restaurants has no square plates, no stiff linen napkins, no blobs or foams. It may be nestled against the walls of an eleventh century church, but its tables are Formica, the chairs mismatched, and its chirpy waiters tattoo’d and lushly bearded
This list obviously reflects the adventurous, backpacking, city-hopping and road-tripping vibe of many Lonely Planet devotees, but – quelle horreur – France doesn’t even make the top ten. There’s noPerigord truffle grated over softly scrambled eggs, a bowl of bouillabaisse on a sunny day in Marseille, nor a cassoulet on a cool Languedocien evening. Yes, a slightly random “cheese in France” is thrown in at Number 14, but it feels like their heart isn’t really in it.
Since my first French lesson with Mrs Snow (Madame la Neige) at the age of eight, I have been such a devoted Francophile that by rights there should probably be a statue of me in a square somewhere, possibly an annual parade. But – it pains me so much to say this – but something bad has happened to French food in the past 20 years [. . . ]
August 10, 2018 :: Helsinki
The 29th edition of the Musicalarue festival ends this Sunday, August 12th. Once again this year, the 700 inhabitants of the small village of Luxey (Landes) perpetuated a festive tradition started in the 60s. The village festival has become a festival that attracts more than 45,000 people attracted by the state of mind and by a poster that mixes Big Flow and Oli, Pierre Perret or Shaka Ponk.
Musicalarue is certainly one of the oldest festivals in France, one of the most convivial too. It all started in 1968. At the time, young people from Luxey (pronounced “Luxeille”!) Decided to organize a village party around August 15th which mixed music of all kinds, street shows and carnival parade.
“It’s a family!”
From one thread to another, the patronal feast became a festival in the 90s but without losing this spirit “great artistic country buffet” as François Garrain describes it. Today president of the association Musicalarue and director of the festival, he was part of the group of young people who launched this adventure. “Musicalarue is a different kind of party, with the live performance in high point and the meeting between all the generations,” he explains. “It’s a family” added Johanna Turpeau, one of the 150 volunteers mobilized for the festival. “Once we’ve done one, we all do it!”
Reportage: Mr. Vial / J.-C. Duclos / J. Michaan / E. Goldstein