The annual lunch that celebrates the hazelnut is one of the high points of September. As communal meals go, this is a record-breaker in terms of size of crowd, and amount of food and wine consumed.
This year 320 people sat down in les halles in Lavelanet and 50 more had to be turned away. As always, the first course was a large slice of foie gras, this year served with pain d'épices and a fig confit. Wine flowed. The young man at the top of this post came around the tables offering seconds. Seconds of foie gras...aren't those words to haunt your dreams?
Next, volunteers deposited cassoulets on the table. As is traditional, we all lined up outside to get servings of meat off the grill, pork this year. Wine continued to flow. After that came cheese and finally dessert. Replacing the usual hazelnut based tarte was a multi-layer cake served, as is traditional, with bottles of blanquette de Limoux and hazelnut liqueur. That's my good friend, Corinne Barthez, serving coffee.