The departments of The Haute Garonne, The Gers and The Tarn are well known for their garlic production, there are protected AOC (AppÃ©lation d’Origine ControlÃ©e) varieties, such as the pink garlic of Lautrec in the Tarn and the purple garlic of Cadours.
The fÃªte de l’ail happens once a year in Cadours on the last weekend of August – they do a lot of things with garlic in these parts:
They cook with it
They preserve it for the aperitif
They use it in health and beauty productsÂ
and … they even make models from it – there was an exhibition of model buildings and even an Airbus military plane all made from garlic!
They take it seriously around here.
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There were workshops where you could learn to plait garlic into those lovely bunches that hang in the kitchen and of course stalls of garlic, onions and shallots – all locally grown.
The real name of the festival is “La fÃªte de l’ail et de la terre” – festival of garlic and of the earth.
For those interested in how they did things at the turn of the 20th century, there was a procession of antique farm vehicles and tools, a wooden threshing machine that demonstrated how wheat and barley was harvested and transformed into flour, long before the birth of the combine-harvester.
There were stalls of olives, sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, saucissons, fruit, vegetables and crafts – a lovely atmosphere in a beautiful place on a hot August afternoon.
There are also bars where cold alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks can be consumed in the shade of a chestnut tree – This is France!
And as is customary in these types of festivals, many old car enthusiasts take the chamois to their old Peugeots, Renault Juva 4, 2cv and CitroÃ«n Traction Avants – which just adds to the atmosphere – aren’t French country festivals just brilliant!