TOTAL's Initiative Puts Basque Food And Drinks In London Limelight

Top Quote TOTAL, which assists SMEs in their international development, in conjunction with the Bayonne Chamber of Commerce (in south-western France), invites members of the press to discover the products of four typically Basque companies in the food-and-drink sector - Pariès Gourmandises Basques, Maison Barthouil, the Pays Basque Dairy Cooperative, and BRANA. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) August 04, 2010 - During a cocktail party sponsored by TOTAL, journalists will be able to taste and discover the products of four food-and-drink companies from the Bayonne region of south-western France. Basque Country Specialties on offer will include duck-liver pâté, smoked salmon, Irouléguy fine wines and fruit brandies, sheep's and cow's milk cheeses, as well as chocolates and cakes.

    The event will take place from 6.30pm at a restaurant in the West End of London on 6 September 2010. Journalists who would like to attend should contact the Press Office of the French Trade Commission UBIFRANCE in London in order to register, and full details will be given, so that they may take part in this unique event.

    The following companies will be taking part in the event.

    Maison Pariès goes from local to global in Basque confectionery

    Maison Pariès is the last remaining firm to have stemmed from Chocolatiers de Bayonne, which was created by Jacques Damestoy in 1894. The know-how accumulated within the company over the years was usually handed down by women, turning Maison Pariès into an undisputed specialist in Gourmandises Basques, i.e. typically Basque confectionery products that include sweets (such as macarons), cakes and chocolates. Always anxious to find the best products and the best quality, Maison Pariès uses only recognised suppliers and producers that meet strict production criteria.

    Several trips to Madagascar convinced Alain and Françoise Girardot, owners of Maison Pariès, that there was an urgent need to properly ensure the promotion of human skills, while protecting the environment. Their aim has been to encourage the consumption of local products, to support fair commercial practices for local producers - both big and small - and to promote local markets, while fighting to protect the livelihoods of small farmers.

    Simultaneously, having wanted to put people and nature back at the heart of commerce, Maison Pariès has been focusing on purchasing top-quality primary products from developing countries, thereby supporting locally based small-scale producers. Maison Pariès, for instance, imports cacao from Madagascar, Ecuador and Venezuela, within a fair-trade framework.

    For further information, go to:

    Maison Barthouil offers top-of-the-range duck-liver pâté and smoked salmon

    Maison Barthouil is a specialist in duck-liver pâté and smoked salmon. In 1929, Gaston Barthouil created La Maison Barthouil, in south-western France. Ever since, the company's sole wish has been to safeguard the authentic taste and character of its products. The company's traditional production methods guarantee the excellence of its products, giving them the incomparable taste upon which the reputation of Maison Barthouil is built.

    Maison Barthouil has put in place a unique, ethical charter for managing its production processes, more particularly in relation to foie gras. The company has selected a specific breed of rustic, slow-growing ducks (called Picaillon), which are particularly well-suited to the foie-gras production process. The free-range ducks are given maize-based feed that has been specially developed for Maison Barthouil, resulting in the production of top-quality duck-liver pâté.

    Located near the river Adour - a river which is famously abundant in salmon - the company has also developed a specific 'hanging' salmon-smoking technique, using alder wood. This technique, unique to Maison Barthouil, is combined with a rigorous selection of the best wild French salmon, as well as salmon from the Atlantic Ocean and farmed salmon. Maison Barthouil's smoked salmon is recognised across France for its top quality by all culinary professionals, delicatessens and high-end restaurants.

    For further information, go to:

    The Pays Basque Dairy Cooperative is second to none in natural-rind cheeses

    The Pays Basque Dairy Cooperative (La Coopérative Laitière du Pays Basque) offers a range of top-quality, natural-rind cheeses: AOC Ossau-Iraty sheep's milk cheese, cow's milk cheese, and sheep/cow blends. The farmers adhere to the quality criteria required of AOC Ossau-Iraty - one of the two AOCs for sheep's cheese, the other one being Roquefort. Obtaining the AOC mark requires using milk that is subjected to regular quality checks from professionals, as well as showing a genuine respect for traditional production methods. ('AOC' stands for Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée and represents an official stamp of approval that is delivered by the French authorities for quality products.)

    The milk is exclusively sourced from local sheep breeds - the black-headed Manex, the red-headed Manex, and the Basco-Béarnaise - which have always been appreciated for their rustic character. The slow maturation of the cheeses reveals their distinctive taste, which is characteristic of a genuine Pays Basque cheese.

    The Cooperative matures its cheeses in small quantities to ensure that they are truly authentic and traditional. The cheeses are regularly brushed and turned by hand, in accordance with traditional methods, and benefit from constant care throughout their maturation. The Cooperative's natural-rind cheeses combine a soft texture with a rich aroma.

    BRANA - from the water of life to fine wines

    BRANA (or Maison Brana), a family-run distiller and winegrower, was founded in 1897 in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, at the heart of the French Basque Country.

    In 1974, BRANA set up its own fruit distillery and planted its own Williams-pear orchards in order to have better control over the quality of the fruit used. The company's know-how in the production of fruit brandies - made from Williams pears, plums and raspberries - was very quickly recognised by fine restaurants and delicatessens.

    BRANA produces fruit brandies and liqueurs by distilling or macerating selected fruits carefully. The company stresses the fact that distillation is carried out in repasse copper stills: it takes all the distiller's patience and skill to bring out the fruit's quintessence and pure flavours.

    In 1984, the company opted to diversify its business and planted its own vineyard on Irouléguy AOC land. DOMAINE BRANA is a mountain vineyard, whose vines have been planted on narrow terraces, on slopes of a gradient approaching 65%. On this exceptionally fine land, the vineyard benefits from optimal exposure to sunlight. BRANA strives to maintain local tradition by planting grape varieties that have been grown in the Irouléguy district since the very beginnings of wine production in the region.

    BRANA is proud to continue with its tradition of excellence in all it does, so that it can indeed describe itself as a supplier of Vins fins et eaux de vie.

    For further information, go to:

    About the Chamber of Commerce of Bayonne and TOTAL Regional Development

    The aim of the Chamber of Commerce of Bayonne (CCI Bayonne Pays Basque), in the French Basque Country (south-western France), is to support the international expansion of the region's SMEs. To this effect, the Chamber of Commerce organises a range of promotional activities and events in the region.

    For further information about the Chamber of Commerce, go to:

    Thanks to its presence in over 130 countries, to its good knowledge of local business partners, and to its familiarity with local conditions, French energy group TOTAL is among the prized partners of the Chamber of Commerce of Bayonne. The Company Solidarity programme undertaken by TOTAL Regional Development, a division of TOTAL, provides valuable help to SMEs, aiming to support them in their development, more particularly outside France.

    For further information about the programme run by TOTAL, go to:

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