Introduction to the event
An introduction to the festival by Michel Guérard, patron of the 2012 Fête de la Gastronomie
It is a very great honour to be invited to sponsor the Fête de la Gastronomie, which celebrates that other French cuisine, the one that is free, rebellious, full of life, fun, and magic; frank, open cuisine, younger - at heart and in mind - than ever before, and not in the least bit nostalgic for the past nor gloomy about the future.
No one can deny that France is one of the most attractive countries in the world. Not only do we have a huge variety of landscapes, heritage sites, and examples of royal - and more modest – architecture, but France is also famed for its multifaceted cuisine, a powerful symbol of national identity and the preferred ambassador for agriculture and tourism. In the world of cooking, French cuisine has a similar role to that of English vis à vis languages in general: it is universal. In this respect, the Fête de la Gastronomie is a fantastic opportunity to draw attention to French cuisine, expertise, and products, both in France and throughout the world.
At the same time, this year’s theme, Terroirs: creativity and tradition, offers us a chance to promote our agricultural products, which is sure to have a beneficial impact on our local economies. Take, for example, the economies of south-west France (Aquitaine and Midi-Pyrénées), where agriculture and the agri-food industry are the leading sectors as regards the economy and employment.