Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Know your Onions

Lézignan-la-Cèbe is 9 Km south of Aspiran towards Pézenas. Cèbe is derived from the occitan for onion and the term was appended to the village name in the 17th century. The onions are renowned for their sweet white flesh and are particularly agreeable raw. The bulb is quite flat - more curling stone than tear shaped. They seem particularly suited to the irrigated flood plane soils between the village and the Hérault which flows 2 Km to the east. The soil is certainly richer here than upstream at Aspiran and beyond where vines start to dominate.

The A75 autoroute opened in 2002 and at a stroke eliminated the bulk of the passing trade but La Chaumière, on the N9 northern edge of the village, has a strong local following. They are one of the last producers of the Cèbe and their potager and fields at the back also grow excellent garlic, shallots and tomatoes. Roadside stalls are normally to be avoided but this one deserves an award.

The village has a "Foire à l'oignon doux" every July. For more information (in French) with pictures of these onions and the foire see this village growers site here.

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