Saturday, June 23, 2012

“Cuisine, terroirs et savoir-faire”

This year’s “Journée du Patrimoine” (heritage day) focused on the know-how of food and working the land. In keeping with this special day, I attended a guided visit to the workshop of M. Barnoin, a local artisan/ceramist, who presented his collection of ceramics and collectable artifacts.

While walking past many large pottery containers, we were told that the major production of pottery took place in the town of Biot (in 1620), with its stamped emblem of the Croix de Malte (Maltese Cross); Monaco (in 1874); and in Vallauris, where from 1631-1782, there were 21 pottery factories for the “poterie paysan.” These large-type, glazed-on-the-inside pots were used to store olives and olive oil, and also were used to wash clothes.

What’s the difference between pottery & ceramics? Well, it seems that the actual products are called ‘pottery,’ with the term ‘ceramics’ being the finishing technique involved (rather than the finished product itself) — for example, “faience.” — a special type of ceramics.

At the end of the visit, guided by the Mayor’s office representative, we were treated to a glass of violet syrup mixed with carbonated water and pieces of ‘tourte de blettes, a sweet, swiss-chard filled pastry topped with confectioner’s sugar – both deliciously sweet!

So, in the end, we had celebrated the know-how of both: “terroirs” & “cuisine”!

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