When we moved to Carcassonne 6 years ago it seemed as if we didn’t have a free weekend. There was always something to do. Naturally there was the city itself to discover but also food and wine fairs, art shows, craft sales, concerts, exhibits, tours, and walks all right on our doorstep to enjoy. As we developed friendships the invitations came for drinks, dinners, and outings of all sorts. That continued for the next few years until Covid arrived and as in the rest of the world everything stopped. During the first of the 3 lockdowns that France went through, even our outdoor fresh fruits and vegetables market was closed. Fortunately most of the restrictions have recently been lifted and the Lions Club Carcassonne Remparts took advantage last weekend of our newfound freedom to hold a Salon de Vins et Délices (Wine & Delights Show) with 20 exhibitors split evenly between wineries and artisanal food vendors. We went three times!
Our first visit was on Saturday morning when we paid 3€ each for a 2-day entrance ticket plus a souvenir wine glass. Since the proceeds were to benefit local disabled children and to transport food and medical supplies to Ukraine we also bought several raffle tickets—more on that in a minute. After once attending a wine fair with 200 vendors where we clearly had to limit whom we visited, we did the same on Saturday, choosing 5 to try and yes, we bought from each of them. In fact, after taking home what we could carry in our arms and backpacks, we returned after lunch for the second visit with our hand truck to roll a few cases back to our house. Our favorite find of the day was sparkling wine from Domaine Gibert in Limoux (link below) with the easy to remember owner’s name, David Forget, who offered free delivery to our door.
Our purchases didn’t stop there since after seeing the butcher, cheeseman, baker, and vinegar maker we came away with a kilogram (2.2 pounds) each of ham, cheese, and cookies and a couple of bottles of balsamic-style vinegar. All of that will come in handy to pair with the wines we found now that we can once again invite friends over for an apéro.
Something that we like about events like these is that almost all of the vendors are local. You often get to talk to the people who produce what you are going to consume; the vintner who has picked the grapes that become his wine or the farmer who has turned the milk from her herd into huge wheels of cheese. Individuals who are proud of the work they do.
Oh, that third visit. We had to go back on Sunday afternoon because one of those raffle tickets turned out to be a winner—a magnum of red wine called “Ni Ange, Ni Démon” (Neither Angel Nor Demon). I wonder if they were trying to tell us something?
Sparkling wine from Domaine Gibert on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Domaine-Gibert-113788793756880
Photo notes: The Salon poster and the photo of the Mayor are from the city’s Facebook page.