Coming from the French word terre for “soil,” the word terroir originally described the special characteristics of a region, or piece of land, which gave different varieties of wine, coffee and tea their individuality. (Soil, climate, position, regional traditions….)
This old Catalan carnival custom which takes place in March, parodies and ridicules marriage via the mock marriage of two men, usually particularly hairy and macho.
Shake off the cold dark winter and welcome in spring with the bright, colourful, topsy turvy world of carnaval in the Pyrénées-Orientales
When Pélage II was carried off by the plague on February 8, 590, Grégoire was elected Pope. Rome was ravaged by the plague and threatened by famine and flood, so Grégoire organised prayers and processions to boost morale.
Traditional Calçotadas take place In February and March. Down as many of these tasty onions as your tummy will allow, dipped in sauces and usually served up with BBQ, live music, sardanes……
It is only by knowing a little about the history of the region that we can appreciate where many of the towns and villages of the Pyrénées Orientales got their names.
Carnival actually dates back to the ancient Greek spring festival in honour of Dionysus, the god of wine. It was a massive binge – a celebration of excess, and later the church, unable to suppress it, wisely adapted it instead to its own traditions.
Apart from the well known Mardi Gras, the nearest French equivalent to Pancake Day is the ‘Fête de la Chandeleur’ (Candlemas) on 2nd February.
This French tradition of serving a frangipane filled tart known as the ‘galette des rois’ (or the ‘gateau des rois’ in the South of France) on, or around the 6th January, (the first Sunday of each New Year) actually dates back to the 14th century.
I’ve just got back from lunch-time Collioure on New Year’s day where the sun shone from a china-blue sky, festive holiday crowds bustled, families and their dogs promenaded….