You can’t go far in Agen without coming across some prunes – especially so today as the town marks the start of its three-day prune festival. The Grand Pruneau Show celebrates this local speciality with music, sports and, erm, plenty of dried plums.
Agen prunes are made using prunier d’Ente, a variety of plum grown in the south west of France. Once dried, they are chewier than some of the softer varieties from other parts of the world.
They are highly rated by connoisseurs and have protected geographical status – and are sometimes referred to as the ‘black gold of Aquitaine’.
No wonder, then, that Agen, the capital of the département of Lot-et-Garonne, devotes three days to celebrating the fruit. The festival, now in its tenth year, succeeds in attracting some 80,000 visitors to the town.
There’s an opening parade this evening and a range of sporting activities over the weekend – plus plenty of opportunities to stock up on prunes at various gourmet market stalls, of course. Prunes in Armagnac are one popular way of enjoying the fruit.
I visited Agen recently and there was no missing the build up to the event. Advertising was everywhere.
Having only recently got back, I think I’ll sit this festival out this year. Perhaps I’ll just content myself with a bag of prunes from the supermarket instead – washed down with some Armagnac perhaps.