By Veronica

La Fête de la Bigarade, La Caunette

Bigarades are bitter oranges, similar to Seville oranges. The village of La Caunette in the Minervois has a festival loosely based on bigarades every year. Actually it's more of a Mediterranean gardening festival, with lots of stalls selling plants and seeds, including citrus trees of course -- and just one stall selling bigarades. I bought 2 kilos for this year's supply of marmalade. You can't buy Seville oranges in France - they all go to the UK I think -- so this is my one chance. I'll be using my friend Fiona's excellent recipe. Can't make it today though, because I forgot to buy any sugar yesterday.

The fruit in the foreground here is not a lemon; it's a cedrat or citron. If you are wondering about the weird spiky clusters behind it, they are called "Buddha's fingers"!

Afterwards we took a detour via Minerve. It was a lovely sunny day (12C) and we were almost tempted to eat lunch outside at the Chantovent, overlooking the gorge. Almost, but the wind decided us against it, and the restaurant was full inside. Instead we went home by a different route, with some spectacular views. The Minervois countryside is gorgeous, and quite different from the Corbières, despite being just next door.

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