As if gastronomy weren’t already cherished enough in France, the government has declared 2022 the official Année de la gastronomie. Launched by President Emmanuel Macron in Lyon in September, it aims to support and promote the restaurant industry and food producers who have suffered thanks to the havoc wrought by Covid. Successful applicants will carry the Year of Gastronomy official label and some will be in line for financial support of €10,000 to €50,000.
The scheme runs until the end of the year and is split into four seasonal themes: the winter of committed and responsible gastronomy; the spring of inclusive and caring gastronomy; summer celebration of sharing and living together; the autumn of producers. The first raft of winners from the winter section has now been announced, with 28 projects awarded the label and 18 awarded funding.
From training initiatives to festivals to street food to local produce, the whole gamut of the French gastronomic scene is represented. Winter winners include Pot au feu géant in Les Halle de Tours, a huge winter event (this year taking place on February 5) in which, for a few euros, locals are invited to buy a portion of pot au feu, or other local specialities, to be enjoyed either on site or taken away to eat at home.
The events involves the city and local restaurants and producers and typically involves 2,375kg of vegetables, 800kg of beef and 17kg of cheese. Profits go to Restos du Cœur, a charity which distributes food packages and hot meals to those in need.
Another winner is the Grand marché des AOC-AOP-IGP at Bourge-en-Bresse, a showcase of regional products (dates for this year to be confirmed) bringing together 100-plus exhibitors and more than 300 products over two days. Cooking competitions, tastings, music and entertainment attract crowds in their thousands. Entries are now open for the spring round of applicants – watch this space!