The people of the south west of a France are immensely proud of their local dishes. Which explains why the townsfolk of Villeréal in Lot-et-Garonne are holding a festival today to celebrate tourin, a garlic soup from the region.
The festival is a long-established local tradition and is now in its tenth year. It takes place in the market hall in the central square of the pretty bastide town.
A competition is held to crown the best local tourin. Recipes vary from family to family, from village to village.
Essentially, preparing the soup involves gently frying several cloves of garlic – anything up to 20 cloves – and adding flour to make a roux. Then you add water and boil it for about ten minutes, before whisking in egg whites. The final touch is to add yolks mixed with vinegar.
It is served ladled over bread. There is also a local tradition of pouring a little red wine into the bowl for the last remaining mouthful.
Panels made up of chefs, village dignitaries and the public will each vote for their favourite from around 20 entries this morning.
Villerėal is a village I know well and is on my list of places I would consider as a potential future home. Whether I could face around 20 different garlic soups in one morning sitting is another matter.