Every month, the French Department for Agriculture releases its list of what’s in season in la belle France. So whether you’re lucky enough to be browsing the markets in France or simply want to recreate a taste of the Hexagon chez vous, here’s what’s hot in August!
Courgettes are a wonderful fresh summer vegetable – we love them drizzled in olive oil and charred slightly in a griddle so they take on those lovely burnished stripes. Serve with fish or use them when they’ve cooled down in a salad of green beans and olives. Talking of salads, cucumber is at its best right now – why not experiment and cook it like you would a courgette for an interesting twist on supper?
Parsley is one of the most commonly used herbs in French cuisine and the fresher it is, the more fragrant it is. Did you know a staggering 20,874 tonnes were produced in France in 2019?
It’s all about red fruits and plums this month. Not only are raspberries delicious, but they’re good for you, packed as they are with nutrients, minerals and antioxidants. They’re even low in calories so you can indulge your sweet-tooth free of guilt!
The mirabelle is one of France’s most famous plums, produced mainly in Grand-Est and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. Yellow in colour and occasionally speckled, it’s juicily sweet – eat it as it comes or put your pâtisserie skills to the test and conjour up a tart.
The Lorraine mirabelle has had Protected Geographical Indication since 1995, and has a very short season from mid-August to the end of September, depending on the weather. This year, the harvest was actually about 10 days early, so be quick if you want to savour one of the best plums around!
Top tip… The Lorraine mirabelle freezes well but must then be cooked from frozen to avoid it blackening.
Forget the smoked variety we see everywhere – there’s nothing quite like a beautiful fresh mackerel. Bake it in foil, or cook it over the barbecue and serve with fresh summer greens.
The Ministère de l’Agriculture et de l’Alimentation has some very specific advice when it comes to shrimp: its delicate flesh means it’s better to buy it live. You can check it’s freshness once cooked by checking that the tail is well folded under the abdomen. Serve in a paella or with spaghetti.
Chicken is a great dish for summer, light and delicious served hot or cold. Keep an eye out for Bresse AOP chicken, from Auvergne Rhône-Alpes and Burgundy-Franche-Comté, which enjojys a free-range lifestyle in the meadows, feeding throughout the day on herbs, seeds and insects.
Saint-Nectaire AOP is made in the Puy-de-Dôme and the Cantal and comes in two versions: laitier (using whole raw milk from a single herd of cows) or fermier (using pasteurised milk from several farms).Both styles are decidedly moreish!
Ossau-Iraty AOP is a sheep cheese from Béarn,with lovely notes of hazelnut. Choose from three types – laitier, fermier (made with milk from a single farm) or estive, which is made at altitude during the summer during transhumance.