A Fig Festival & a horse in a ‘flat-cap’

I can’t help it – I’m a sucker for a local Festival in France – so you can imagine I was delighted when, on a planned bike ride last week, we arrived in Saint Didier and noticed a sign for the Fig Festival taking place in Caromb that day.

A simple sign that changed our plans for the day
A simple sign that changed our plans for the day
I feel I should explain that Caromb was (by quite some miles) in exactly the opposite direction to the route we had planned, but the chance of spending a couple of hours wandering around, learning more about figs and hopefully tasting some, proved too much of a draw and so we bought a map from the local Tabac and then turned left instead of right and headed out towards the village.

It was a lovely ride through the small town of Mazan, through vineyards towards Caromb, which sits against the backdrop of the Dentelles, with Le Barroux perched high on a spur of rock beyond. Needless to say the mass of Ventoux was ever-present on our right as we cycled along the quiet roads.

The ever-present Ventoux
The ever-present Ventoux

A first sight of the village of Caromb
A first sight of the village of Caromb
When we arrived it was clear from the signs advertising a ‘navette’ to shuttle visitors in and out, that this was going to be quite an event – so we cycled through and found the Fete in full swing, taking over the main road and squares in the centre of the pretty little village.

We had clearly arrived at a perfect moment as there was a parade of different groups of people, representing local producers, making its way through the streets, led by a traditional provencal band. The people in these groups were dressed in long, brightly coloured capes, with one of their members carrying a banner for their particular ‘Confrerie’ – including garlic and of course figs.

The parade making its way through the busy main street of Caromb
The parade making its way through the busy main street of Caromb
It was evident from this that the Fete was an opportunity for a celebration of all local foods and traditions as well as the local figs.

Just some of the types of figs available
Just some of the types of figs available
I must admit I love figs and can’t think of anything nicer than a simple breakfast of sun-warmed, freshly picked figs with yogurt. What I hadn’t realised though was the variety of figs that are grown or that Caromb had its own local fig – the ‘Noire de Caromb’, which is at its best at this time of year.

The 'feted' local 'Noire de Caromb' Figs
The ‘feted’ local ‘Noire de Caromb’ Figs
These slightly elongated, dark skinned figs have a wonderful flavour & almost burst when you bite into them and they were available in many different forms at the Fete. There was also lots of information available on so many types of figs to help you decide what to plant & where

Which fig is best for you?
Which fig is best for you?
You could also sample just about every possible version of a fig from the fruit itself to ‘fig tapenade’……

A bowl of 'Tapenade de la Figue' sat amongst the olives on one of the stalls
A bowl of ‘Tapenade de la Figue’ sat amongst the olives on one of the stalls
‘fig bread’, ‘fig jam,’ ‘nougat with fig’

So much nougat
So much nougat
-or simply satisfy yourself by buying a tree to take home with you.

I long to be able to pick figs from my own tree one day
I long to be able to pick figs from my own tree one day
The ‘Fete’ was an absolute delight and we would have loved to have stayed for the communal lunch that was just starting in the main square – accompanied by the provencal band that had led the parade through the streets earlier.

A perfect accompaniment for lunch
A perfect accompaniment for lunch
However knowing that we were on our bikes with a considerable distance to cover to get back to Fontaine De Vaucluse that evening – the last thing we needed was a long and ‘winey’ lunch, however pleasant that would have been…… (note to self – next time stay near Caromb when the Fig Festival is on)

Of course, as with the other local festivals we have visited over the years, there were many other stalls selling local handicrafts, which are always lovely and Caromb was no exception. I was particularly taken by the pottery on this stall, particularly the large and rather lurid snails, which seemed ready to crawl down onto the next shelf…..

These snails were just lovely
These snails were just lovely
also the games made from local river pebbles…… simple but beautifully presented and a great idea…………..

Simply stylish fun
Simply stylish fun
there were also some nice paintings ………….

Simple still-lifes would look great on the kitchen wall
Simple still-lifes would look great on the kitchen wall
and some particularly stunning silver jewellery……

I always find myself drawn to the silver designs
I always find myself drawn to the silver designs
As ever I was very tempted by many things, but with only having handlebar-bags on the bikes our carrying space was especially limited so we restricted ourselves to buying figs (in a variety of guises) for lunch, before moving on.

The whole occasion was delightful. The centre of the village had a lovely buzz about it and it was a great way to spend a couple of hours on Bastille Day, providing us with a perfect break and lunch-stop during our cycle-ride, which was further diverted when we noticed a sign for a ‘Melon Festival’ that afternoon in Pernes-Les-Fontaines (so many festivals….. so little time!)

There was one thing though that did leave us rather intrigued and that was why the horse taking part in the main parade was wearing a tweed ‘flat-cap’ …………

A bit bizarre!!
A bit bizarre!!
It didn’t seem to be doing much to keep the sun off its face, nor did it appear to be acting as a particularly effective fly-repellant. For us it was just one of those rather ‘bizarre’ sights that helps make France what is is and to be honest we can’t wait to return.

Sharing this post via #FarawayFiles through this week’s Oregongirlworld https://oregongirlaroundtheworld.files.wordpress.com/2016/10/faraway_files_travel_blog_linkup_badge.jpg?w=640 

23 Comments Add yours

  1. lisaabsalom says:

    I share your love of local festivals – and whilst in the UK, County and Country Shows too – and I really enjoyed your account of the fig festival. I have to admit I was a little teary eyed though as it brought home to me again, the folly of leaving my beautiful huge fig tree behind when I moved house last year. The figs will be getting large and black and squishy and fabulously tasty right now — and someone else is enjoying them!! By the way, the flat cap looks better on the horse than on my partner Malcolm!

    1. Thanks – I’m pleased you enjoyed it – the festivals are so much fun and I too enjoy the local fetes and fairs we have here in Devon . I’d love my own fig tree but sadly Dartmoor weather doesn’t give the best growing conditions – too much rain!!

  2. I love the way the French have festival for all sorts of food and drink. As you would expect in Normandy, we have seafood and cider festivals as well as a carrot festival – who would have thought the humble carrot would get it’s own festival?!

    1. I can imagine the cider festivals must be great fun – I must admit though I’ve never come across a carrot festival, I’m fascinated now !

  3. What a bunch of stories this little village contains! What a great find, especially for a fig-lover! I’d be more inclined to an avocado festival myself! 🙂

    1. Thanks – an Avocado festival sounds good too – we’ve just stopped off at Carcassonne on our way to the Vaucluse for a couple of weeks & look forward to what we might find this time!

  4. I adore figs and I love a good French village fĂȘte so this has got to be a winning combination. Near me one of the funniest ones is the FĂȘte des Courges every October, but being near Grasse and the perfume industry we also get lots of flower/odorific festivals: fĂȘte des violettes, roses, mimosa, oranges and the most famous of all the citron in Menton every February. Sorry I took so long to read your addition to #allAboutFrance, the summer holidays and our big road trip rather got the better of me, but I’m just in time before the next link up this Thursday (3rd Sept)!! Hope to see you there and thanks for adding this lovely post.

    1. Thanks – the Fete des Courges sounds fascinating and I have always promised myself a trip to the Menton citrus festival after seeing it on postcards when I visited as a child – I still haven’t managed it but will do one day. We’re on the ferry at the moment just returning after nearly 3 weeks in Provence so have lots of new things to think about for the next #AllAboutFrance !

  5. What a find! I would love to go to more food festivals in Europe #farawayfiles

    1. They are lovely and this one was particularly nice as it was in such a lovely village & so unexpected – the horse in the flat cap still baffles me!

  6. Tanja says:

    I’m not a fan of figs but this looks fun!:) #farawayfiles

    1. To be honest I don’t think you really have to be a fan of the food that’s being celebrated – they are just good fun & worth popping to if you see one is taking place

  7. Clare Thomson says:

    So lovely to read about this unusual food festival and the tweed cap-wearing horse taking centre stage! A great post to link up to #FarawayFiles. Thank you!

    1. Thanks – still not sure why it was wearing a flat cap to this day! Thanks for the linkup #FarawayFiles

  8. Yummy! Figs are so delicious. My mother in law has a huge tree in her garden in Australia and we greedily gobble them up in summertime. This is exactly the type of experience I am looking for when I travel. We would drive for miles to go to this festival too! Thanks for sharing with us on #FarawayFiles

    1. Thanks – sorry to have taken a couple of days to get back to you but I’ve been en route back down to Provence for a few days. I love Figs & have always yearned for a fig tree of my own, but there’s one just down the road from our new house so I’ll be able to manage with that. For me this is what pottering around Provence is all about and certainly worth seeking them out!

  9. daisythebus says:

    Great post! I love this sort of local festival. But it’s weird – I always thought that figs were in season much later than mid-July; an early autumnal sort of fruit. It seems like this “Noire de Caromb” is a rather unusual variety. Thanks for educating me!

    1. Thanks – pleased you enjoyed it – we’re over in Provence again at the moment & there’s still Figs here now – the Noire de Caromb do seem particularly early, but as a lover of Figs, that suits me fine as it just extends the eating time!!

  10. Ahila says:

    The fig bread and fig jam sound lovely. Sounds like a lovely festival. #FarawayFiles

    1. Thanks it was just good fun & a lovely find!

  11. Oh my gosh – I love this post! Don’t know if I am quite as huge a fig fan, but adore a local festival and what a perfect place to try! Love the local crafts and art as well. Thank you kindly for sharing with #FarawayFiles – a perfect piece for the collection! Cheers from Croatia this time – look forward to reading where you take us this week! Erin

    1. Thanks – the local festivals are great & to be honest I don’t think it matters whether you love the particular food that’s being celebrated or not – they’re just good fun! #FarawayFiles

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