Geese are handsome creatures that play a big economic role in the life of the Dordogne — for their livers (foie gras), their meat, and even their down. So in nearby Sarlat over the past two days, there’s been a goose festival that reached its grand climax today. We had to be there.
Just for the record, there is no thriving goose industry in our village of Daglan, but that’s not to say that we’re geese-less. Our neighbour Germaine, for instance, maintains two geese in a large yard at the end of the La Fontaine quartier; we can hear them honking if we’re outside and she happens to be visiting them. We also make a habit of saving up our vegetable scraps — carrot peelings, celery leaves and so on — and give them to Germaine every couple of days, “pour les oies.”
Fairly late this afternoon, we headed up to Sarlat, not sure how much of the goose festival we’d see. As it turned out, there was just enough going on to make the trip worthwhile. First, here’s the poster for the festival that was plastered all over town:
In the tourism office window, there was a display highlighting the festival and the special meal that was being offered:
As we walked into the centre of town, we came upon a nice display of how geese are raised, including an actual bunch (flock?) of baby geese (oisons), who seem awfully cute:
Eventually, of course, these little ones grow up — and wind up looking like these proud birds:
But then it’s time for dinner — and the geese wind up holding the wrong end of the stick on this one. For instance, here’s the champion goose, looking less than lively:
For the record, here is a close-up of the plaque won by this goose:
Having seen the champion, there was little left for us to do but visit one of the stalls, buy a tin of goose rillette (the rough paté) to have for dinner tonight, and then to sit at a café and have a coffee. As we did, the last of the geese were being shepherded along the street, headed for home. Note the goose tucked under the man’s arm; isn’t there always one lazy bugger who claims to be too tired to walk?