Sausages, cocktails and evolution

Cannes Film Festival, Paris Fashion Week, French Tennis Open, Beaujolais Nouveau festival – celebrities, red carpet haute-couture, champagne and cocktail parties – it all happens in France.  This week my party agenda included a soirée hosted by the International Natural Sausage Casings Association (INSCA).  I kid you not!

The natural sausage casings industry is a significant and economically vital part of the value chain.  Ultimately the extra revenue that is earned from processing of animal by-products can mean the difference between profit and loss in farm production.  NZ exports mostly “raw” animal gut for processing overseas; the volumes from NZ are crucial to meet international demand for sausages which increases in tough economic times and apparently, in big event years like Football World Cups.

As well as the tennis, the 81st General Session World Assembly for the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) is on this week. Delegates from OIE member countries, international animal health experts, and industry partners all gather in Paris for discussion and decision-making on international standards and policies that impact on every aspect of animal health from paddock to plate.  My dearly beloved is involved in this work so I have the pleasure of being invited along to a soirée or two as his accompanying other, hence the natural sausage casings event.

Another grand soirée was hosted by Merial – an international veterinary pharmaceutical company – at the fabulous Natural History Museum of Paris in the Grand Galerie de l’ Évolution.  The museum was formally founded in 1793 and the building itself was built between 1877 and 1889.  It was closed in 1965 because of damage incurred during WWII.  After a major renovation starting in 1980 it was opened on 21 June 1994.  It is magnificent; the website description says that this museum tells the story of evolution played out in décor grandiose – it’s a perfect description, the lighting and the views upward and across the gallery floors are beautiful.  I only saw the exhibits on the floor where the soirée took place but these were terrific; life like taxidermy exhibits of exotic animals big and small march across the floor and giant dinosaur skeletons reach up from the floor below.  There are 3 floors in all full of fascinating exhibits.  We will be making another visit for sure.

As people mingled at these parties, we were plied with cocktails of gastronomic art; tiny tasty bites, presented with such imagination you were guessing until the taste buds registered delight.  You won’t be surprised; there wasn’t a cocktail sausage in sight (I don’t think the French will have even heard of such culinary abominations!).  My just-finished knitted Symi wrap made its debut and was the perfect accessory in our half-hearted Spring weather.

Symi wrap, from Rowan Magazine #53

Symi wrap, from Rowan Magazine #53

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