Food basket: what to eat in October

This month squash, carrot, and Roquefort cheese are in season.

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As every month, the French government publishes its recommendations for seasonal food, including fish, cheese, vegetables and fruit. Here is what it advises for October.

It is now time to eat squash, as France produces over 100,000 tonnes every year.

But it is also a good time for champignons de Paris (Paris mushrooms). Although they are named after the city of Paris, they are mainly produced in Pays de la Loire since the end of the 19th century.

Carrots are also in season as every season a variety of carrot can be eaten. It is now time for carotte de garde, which are planted from March to July to be sold during winter.

Herrings are good to eat this month. To check that they are fresh, their scales must be shiny and not come off the skin.

Marennes Oléron oysters are highly recommended at this time of the year. They are produced in Marennes Oléron bay in Charente-Maritime and have had the mention Label Rouge since 1998, as a proof of superior quality. Another fish recommended is the rouget grondin (red mullet).

For dessert, you can have some apple, which is the favourite fruit of the French (they eat 17kg a year). It is also time to eat pear.

It is the moment for chestnuts. Their shells must be shiny and not have any hole when you buy them.

For cheese, it is recommended to eat Roquefort AOP, a blue sheep milk cheese from Aveyron. Legend has it that this cheese was discovered when a young shepherd, eating his lunch of bread and ewes' milk cheese in a cave, saw a beautiful girl in the distance. He ran after her but could not find her. When he later returned to the cave, he found his cheese transformed by mould making it a Roquefort.

The Ossau-Iraty AOP, a sheep milk cheese from the Basque country, is also in season. The milk must always come from Red-face Manech, Black-face Manech or Basco-béarnaise. It is a smooth, creamy and firm cheese, with a yellow-orange or grey crust. Over 4,000 tonnes are produced every year in France.

Last but not least, the feuille de Dreux, which is known for having a chestnut leaf on it, is said to be tastier in October. This cow milk cheese, which was originally produced in Eure-et-Loir, is also called Marsauceux and Dreux à la feuille. The leaf on it was used to wrap the cheeses and prevent them from sticking together.

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