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Friday, May 21, 2010

Traveling – Flavigny, France

What do anise candy and the Johnnie Depp movie Chocolat have in common?  They both were made in Flavigny-sur-Ozerain in the region of Burgundy France.

During our 2003 driving trip around France, we stopped at the small hilltop town of Flavigny.  It had been three years since the release of the movie Chocolat, so the few residents were used to tourists visiting their little community.

As we drove to the town of Flavigny, the first thing we noticed was the licorice smell of anise in the air.  We found a place to park and walked to the Tourist Office, which was closed, so we decided to just explore without a map.  The town is not that large so we started walking up the steep streets to what we hoped was the town center.  As we passed one empty shop, I took a hard look at it and stated to my wife that it is the location of the Chocolat shop shown the movie.  Just a few more steps up the hill was the town square.

We looked through the windows at the empty shop and then around the town square and compared the actual setting to that shown in the movie (by the way, all the river scenes were shot in another town on the other side of France).  There is an ancient St. Genest church that makes up one edge of the town square we wanted to visit but it was closed.  I read in our Rick Steves France book that if you go to the town hall, which is just a few steps away, someone will come over and open the church.  I wandered through the town hall and finally opened some doors and found a young woman who came over and gave us a tour of the church.  Her English was good and she said that she works on her English by watching the TV show The Sopranos.  After a shudder ran through my body, I had to make sure that she knew that it is just and TV show and not how most of the people in the United States talk.

We walked to the building that is the site of the entire town’s industry: making anise extract and anise candy.  We were able to look into the kitchen and see the boiling pots of anise seed which smelled wonderful, but it looked like a very hot work environment.  We found a local shop that offers the anise candy, and we were able to sample some of the different flavor of candies produced in the factory.

We ended up purchasing several tins and boxes of the anise candy that we could enjoy during our trip and to take home for family and friends.  Anytime I see one of the boxes or tin, I can immediately remember the wonderful flavor of the anise candy as we drove through the French countryside.

Adventures In Food: Author: Kerry Howell

1 comment:

  1. River scenes were shot in England, name of palce is Fonthill Lake.