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Festivals in France : the Chestnut and Apple Fair in Eguzon
The Chestnut and Apple festival
FETE DE LA CHATAIGNE, Eguzon
Every year since 1986 at the end of October, the village of Eguzon in Central France celebrates the fair of the apple and chestnut. A fair that takes you back to village life in rural France. A friendly environment around people grilling nuts the old way, while other villagers are pressing apples the traditional way for fresh apple juice and cider.
Numerous producers of cheese, snails, cakes, jams, juice, soap, wool, sausages and other local products gather around the main square. Among the colourful stands people trying on local wines, and waiting around for the "baked on the spot" apple bread, deliciously hot and moist, baked and served on cabbage leaves.
The hot aroma of grilled chestnuts slowly filling your senses. Warming you for the coming winter season. This is one of my favourite autumn fairs. Usually I buy too many litres of the freshly squeezed apple juice. The children love it and my husband and I can not stop ourselves from having another glass. I also load up Chocolate and chestnut cakes, so soft that it just melts in your mouth.
At this time of the year it is cold and windy, so I love warming my hands with the paper cone filled with grilled chestnuts! In only 2 days more than a tonne of chestnuts are grilled and consumed in Eguzon. And more than 15 tonnes of apple are squeezed for juice and cider.
The fair has also several activities around it. There are walks around the Lake of Eguzon, Cycling around the lakes, Horse riding around the neighbouring villages and of course the bands playing local music. There is also a Cake contest and the different restaurants in the village offer menus based on chestnuts. There is also a wine cocktail offered to all the people who took part on the different activities and a Cabaret showing some of the traditional dances of the area.
For the more adventurous there is also a night walk with story telling and singing. At arrival there is hot soup waiting for the audacious!
This year we lost our three year old boy while waiting for our apple bread to be baked on the square. Panic over, we found him a few minutes later happily dancing and entertaining passers by with a musician!
Things To Taste at the Chestnut fair:
- Freshly squeezed apple juice.
- Freshly baked on cabbage leaves apple bread.
- Grilled chestnuts.
- Valençay wine.
- Potatoes cake (potatoes sliced and baked with cream under puff pastry)
- Honey and honey sweets and honey liqueur.
- Chocolate and chestnuts melting cakes.
- Caramelized nuts.
- Snails in garlic butter
- Chestnut Gofres (Thick waffles)
Things to do:
- Take part in one of the walks around the lakes or villages.
- Take part on a cycling tour of the lakes.
- Horse ride in one of the most beautiful sceneries of France.
- Take part on a night walk and listen to the scary stories on the way while munching on grilled chestnuts.
- Stock on goodies for the winter.
- Or like us, just have a walk around, absorb the environment, taste as much as your taste buds allow you. Be part of the fair, share a glass with some one you don't know and smile for the photos !
Candied, boiled or roasted; in marrons glacés, ground into flour, which can then be used to prepare bread, cakes and pasta. The Chestnut is the star of the autumn. You need to try it!