You might have to be a fan of movie musicals and/or Judy Garland plus know a little bit about Carcassonne to understand this post’s title, but you won’t need to read French to tell from this poster where we went today. About a year ago when we decided that this town would be our new home one of the first announcements we read about was for the annual Chocolate Festival in March. Guess what month it is?
Sponsored by the Lions Club to benefit the children’s hospital here, I’d say the real beneficiaries were all of us attending the event. Timed perfectly for the upcoming Easter holiday, displays of chocolate bunnies, chicks, and eggs abounded. There were big slabs of chocolate, little delicate sculptures, and tables full of locally made, hand dipped treats. Every booth offered samples and I’m happy to say that we enjoyed a taste from almost every one. By chance we arrived just as the opening ceremonies began and once the speeches concluded were more than happy to share in the bubbly wine being poured.
As if chocolate weren’t enough to make a festival successful, vendors of complementary products displayed their wares as well. We had fun tasting champagne, hearing about coffee that’s roasted nearby, and sampling half a dozen varieties of honey made from flowers in the surrounding fields and mountains. In the accompanying photo you can see that we decided to continue our gourmet experience at home.
Perhaps now you’re asking “What does a Judy Garland musical have to do with a chocolate fair in Carcassonne?” The exhibition hall where this tasty event was held is located within the bastide which is a fortified town surrounded by thick walls and often a moat. The bastide here, constructed in 1260 during the reign of King Louis IX (later to be canonised as Saint Louis) bears his name. Meet me in St. Louis…meet me at the fair.
When I was looking at an online translation program to see what possible meanings it could come up with for Salon du Chocolat it suggested many including exhibition, show, festival, and fair. The one I liked the best, however, was Chocolate Lounge. I think that every home should have one of those.