I could claim that our one day in Dijon magically coincided with its International Gastronomic Fair, but this would be a lie. When getting an itinerary together back in July, I had planned for us to travel France clockwise from Paris with our first destination as Burgundy and ending up in the Loire. However, when I discovered that this unmissable foodie gathering was happening for this particular week only, I completely turned the route on its head to end up in Burgundy and thus Dijon on this date. A bit drastic you may say, but it was definitely worth it! This renowned event attracts a quarter of a million foodie fanatics of all kinds… chefs, artisans, entrepreneurs, and those who just love to eat! Its presence completely dominates the city, with posters and road layout changes managing the flock that turns this already gastronomic city into a flurry of food!

The event takes place in a huge warehouse, with 3 exhibition halls. Safe to say that as we entered this gastronomic oblivion, we were overwhelmed by the maze of stalls before us, chefs calling out their recipes, producers promoting their goods and individuals indulging on the offerings… a sheer wonder for the senses!

Getting Involved with Choccie Mousse Samples
Getting Involved with Choccie Mousse Samples

We were lucky enough to see two demonstrations (and consequently sample the delicious results!) for one of which I have translated the recipe for Anglophones to try out. We saw the dishes being created in front of our very eyes (ever the keen beans with a front row close up) therefore I have included some tips that are not included in the recipe but are essential to replicate the true dish!

Suprême de Volaille à l’Époisses (Chicken Supreme with Époisses Sauce)

Ingredients (serves 6):
– 6 supremes (boneless and skinless chicken breasts)
– 250g Époisses cheese
– 250 ml crème fraiche (this doesn’t need translating!)
– 400 ml brown stock
– Salt, pepper, olive oil and butter

– Whip the cream until thick and store in the fridge.
– In a saucepan, fry the chicken with olive oil and a knob of butter on a low heat until  golden. Pour away any fat.
– Break the époisses into pieces (not too small!) and add to the chicken with the stock, allow to simmer and reduce.
– When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pan.
– Add the whipped cream to the sauce, gently fold and then gently whisk until consistent.
– Pour the sauce over the chicken, and dress with a sprig of rosemary.

Happy Chefs!
Happy Chefs!

The result was absolutely divine and not the heavy cheese sauce you would expect with so many rich components! We wanted a whole portion, but high demand of the mini tasters meant we had to wander elsewhere to satisfy our appetites. We did pretty well, pinching samples of duck with blackcurrant coulis, caramelised waffles, macaroons, chocolate mousse and a big bow of Gaulois soup from a huge brewing cauldron. The icing on the cake was a tasting of an array of exotic varieties of Dijon mustard along with the classics (being in its birthplace it would be rude not to really!). We were also delighted to find that this particular producer supplies “bahhh do you know zee English shop Sainsbury’s?” so we can stock up back in England!

Mustards of Dijon stand to Attention! (Get Involved at Sainsbury's)
Mustards of Dijon stand to Attention! (Get Involved at Sainsbury’s)

We left extremely satisfied with our morning of tasting, all for £3 entrance! I think a trip to the 2013 fair may be necessary…