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Languedoc Notebook - September

Every year during the month of August the city of Béziers hold its famous Feria. This brings memories of a particular summer of '69 which I spent with friends in Agde. It was my first time away from my family and possibly when I got my first taste of the catering industry.  

I worked in a fruit and veg shop; selling ice cream and choux- choux on the beach, and I was a  limonadier on a beach front restaurant. This was a great time and for a week Béziers dominated by the rhythm of flamenco, concerts, horses, bulls , and vibrant colours. 

I remember my first corrida, with mixed emotions as in this macho environment you could not really show your sensitivity.  My first Novillada, a corrida for young bulls and 16 to 18 years old apprentice Toreadors was more enjoyable as I could relate to the "courage" of the younger kids. 

There was not any fast  food in those days but the street stalls  and markets offered  an abundance of usually forbidden food ; my first really spicy merguez , too much paella, stuffed squid and mussels , grilled gambas , a whole variety of gaufres and crêpess and too much Muscat!

One  evening we were invited to dine at a local restaurant near the bull ring and I had my first and only taste of Taureau Camarguais, a braised bull stew with rich red wine and herb sauce using cuts of meat I had never tasted before, tails, cheeks and others bits I cannot  mention here! To this day out of all the daubes I have eaten none come close to that taste...maybe it was due to the local Listel Rose wine. 

If you happen to be in the area at this time of year  then  Béziers is well  worth a visit; my advice will be a good alfresco lunch on Les Allees Paul Riquet and a wee siesta by the Canal du Midi ...then the night is yours!

A Bientot. 

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