What's good to eat in France in January

Two cheeses, cancoillotte and boulette d’Avesnes, are in season in January and so goods to eat, according to the latest food advice from the French government.

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Boulette d’Avesnes is a cheese from the north of France and is made with cow’s milk and Maroilles cheese. It is a soft smelly cheese in a shape of a cone and is recommended to be eaten with a glass of beer.

Cancoillotte is a runny cheese made with cow’s milk in Franche-Comté. It is also called Kachkéis in Lorraine and Luxembourg. It is best to eat it in winter and can be used as a sauce, on bread, or in various recipes – here is one to try:

Gratin de courgettes et cancoillotte

Cut three courgettes into small cubes and fry them in a pan with a little olive oil.
In the meantime, mix 250g of cancoillotte, 10cl of milk, two eggs and salt and pepper in a bowl.
Place the courgettes in an oven dish and pour the cancoillotte mixture over them. Sprinkle with a handful of grated Parmesan cheese and put in the oven for 30 minutes at 180°C.
This can also serve as a side dish with roast pork, veal, or turkey.

Another cheese in season is tomme des Pyrénées. Made with cow’s milk, it is usually covered with a black or gold skin. The taste varies according to the colour of the skin. It is usually stronger when the skin is gold as it has matured longer.

For fruit, the government recommends kiwi, mango and pomegranate. 63,174 tonnes of kiwi are produced every year in Aquitaine, Midi-Pyrénées, and Rhône-Alpes regions.

Pomegranate is produced in the south of France, notably in the Vaucluse, Gard and Hérault while mango comes from the DOM-TOMs: Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, Reunion and Mayotte.

Fish in season are whiting (merlan), cod (cabillaud) and European plaice (carrelet). The European plaice is mainly found in the Atlantic sea. It is a flat fish that can be eaten raw or cooked.

This month is also a good time to eat Jerusalem artichokes (topinambours, also known as artichauts de Jérusalem), spinach (épinards) and potatoes. Potato is the favourite vegetable of French people. They eat 27,5kg per person per year.

France is also the first producer of spinach in Europe, with 24 542 tonnes produced every year.

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