Poultry and Game

Appears in

French Country Kitchen

French Country Kitchen

By Geraldene Holt

Published 1987

  • About

Happily, there is always more of France to discover. Only a year or so ago we found ourselves in Haute Provence, an upland region of great beauty. I remember travelling from Forcalquier, near the silver-domed national observatory, along a road that swoops down to Manosque and the valley of the river Durance. It crossed the most northerly end of the Lubéron hills where vast rocks embedded in mossy banks bordered the narrow route. Pink and blue alpine flowers and stubby broom bushes in yellow and white emblazoned the path for mile after mile. It was like some huge rock garden, landscaped and arranged by a benevolent landowner for everyone’s pleasure. Now and again a narrow track disappeared into the hills on either side of the road. Sometimes a signboard told us that a game farm lay at the end of the track. Here quail and pheasant, guinea-fowl and partridge live in pastoral splendour, but behind bars. Farm-reared game is sold locally, but each year more and more of it travels to Lyons, Paris, Nice and even London. This has happened partly because the French enjoy the relentless pursuit of la chasse; on Sundays, in season, thousands of guns are allowed to let fly at almost anything that moves. Only on private and protected estates are you likely to see what, thankfully, is almost a daily sight in spring near my Devon home – a cock pheasant strutting proudly through a field of young wheat. But there is also a trend in France towards eating game, which I predict will travel over or under the Channel towards us. This is an excellent development.