Tastebud alert! The Garlic Fair awaits you in Billom, in the heart of Auvergne Tuscany. The Mediterranean sun invites itself into your holidays. Indeed, the Billomoise city hosts the garlic fair every 2nd weekend in August. An event that has become unmissable both for fans of Auvergne garlic and for its producers. 200 exhibitors and 60 traders thus attract nearly 20.000 visitors each year. In 2023, you have an appointment on the weekend of August 12 and 13 in the streets of Billom.
Billom, the garlic heritage
For four centuries, garlic cultivation in billomois country contributes to the wealth of the merchant city. Indeed, in this Tuscany of Auvergne » So dear to the heart of Catherine de Medici, pink garlic took advantage of the benefits of Limagne. Therefore, very adapted to the clay-limestone soils and the climate of the Pays de Billom, garlic grows in the spring. Harvested in the heart of summer, it is then dried. L'Ail de Billom is distinguished by a pronounced taste and fragrance. As long as you take care to braid it, it retains its virtues throughout the year.
Today, pink garlic in Billom is made up of around thirty producers who maintain a centuries-old tradition. With the support of the Confrérie des Grands Goussiers, they invest in obtaining a Protected Geographical Indication. In October 2018, "L'ail rose de Billom is included in the national inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage (PCI) of France for know-how related to the cultivation of pink garlic from Billom. The Billomois garlic has won great recognition.
The pink garlic, wine and flea market fair, a taste of summer!
In early August, the new year's garlic harvest is ready, the cloves bursting with sunshine and nutrients. It is this very fresh and generous production that will be found on the stalls of the Pink Garlic Fair in Billom. August 12 and 13, 2023.
Thus, this event brings together 200 exhibitors and 60 traders, and attracts nearly 20.000 visitors. Because in Billomois country, garlic is an institution that we honour, perpetuate and value, under the impetus of La Confrérie des Grands Goussiers and the Champs d'ail association.
Beyond these few figures, the Billom Garlic Fair is first and foremost a celebration of pink garlic, a true emblem. Close to the old streets of the city where it used to be minted, around the market stalls, garlic gives all the products of a region its touch of roundness. Its white dress is a promise of flavors. Impossible to stroll without thinking of a little Sunday recipe.
During these two days, the producers present their most beautiful garlics and the most beautiful stalls. The classification is made according to the different presentations (bundles, clusters, bouquets, braids). The Garlic Fair is also a country market, and you will find something to fill your basket over the stands. The wines of the Côtes d'Auvergne are also honored there, through a competition.
Indeed, there will be several competitions: the best garlic, the most beautiful stand, colored and wrapped, or the most beautiful braiding. Direct sales, recipes and culinary uses of garlic, braiding workshop, the flavors and traditions of Auvergne garlic are revealed.
At the turn of the alleys, between half-timbered houses and vestiges of the medieval walls, the garage sales, the flea market and the musical notes make the Pink Garlic Fair a destination with friendly charm.
Auvergne garlic, an artisanal tradition that continues
Introduced in Auvergne by the Crusaders in the XIVe century, garlic cultivation exploded in the XNUMXe century in Pays Billomois, a land conducive to its development. Farmers and agricultural engineers have over time combined their know-how and creativity to obtain local varieties. With characteristic flavors and delicate colours.
Garlic grown in the Tuscany of Auvergne, therefore has an assertive personality similar to the terroir where it grows. Billom's pink garlic, with its pretty purple colour, is the most emblematic product of this age-old agriculture. These little jewels can also be white, black or purple. Planted in winter, the garlic is harvested from mid-July, before drying in the open air. Harvesting by hand avoids damaging the bulbs, but can also be mechanized. The bundles of garlic are elegantly braided by hand to be hung up while drying, quite an art!
With its precious and authentic cultural and architectural heritage, the beautiful medieval city of Billom thus deserves all its distinctions: Pays d'Art et d'Histoire and Remarkable Site of Taste. A strong and festive time showcasing all these treasures, the Pink Garlic Fair in Billom is worth the detour!
The Garlic Fair is free and open to all, so come and relax in the mild, almost Mediterranean air of Billom!