I made a vow to attend as many festivals this summer as I can. They are a very special part of Provence. It takes an effort though to get out there and go. The Cheese Festival in Banon sounded interesting to me but it is high in Haute Provence in Lavender country requiring driving on narrow winding roads and an hour each way for me. The lavender isn’t in bloom yet, either, something which always adds to the enjoyment of this area.
Never the less, I did drive to Banon. There was a huge crowd and everyone parked on the roads down below this perched village and took a bus up. There were all sorts of rides for kids, a stage for live music which hadn’t started yet and even a ring for what I guess would be a boxing match. The little restaurants there had put out many tables for meals and Banon was filled with families and couples getting free samples of cheese, bread and pastries and there were even some chefs there making little things to eat with cheese, of course.
Some of the cheese for sale. Banon is known for cheese that is formed into little discs and then wrapped in chestnuts leaves that are held in place by twine. It can be pretty strong stuff and often, when it is cut into, sort of runs all over the plate. Interestingly-to me at any rate-most cheese in France is made from goat milk. There is cow and sheep cheese but not in huge amounts.
I liked the shape of this cheese. It wasn’t even French, but Italian.
Some cheese from cows.
Stacks of bread to go with that cheese. They were also giving wine tastings and selling bottles of local wine.
It was a fun festival and I’m glad I went but it didn’t compare with those with sculptures of saints being paraded through the streets and traditional costumes and music but I did see alot of enjoyment by the French visiting there.