Sunday, 8 August 2010


What a lovely word that is, I shall make it my word of the week! It is round and delicious and it rolls around in your mouth, but what is it? Glanage has been an inalienable right in France since the middle ages. If we do not do it, this right could be lost to future generations, so said our friend Agnès. So with such a call-to-arms, we were up for it. Looking for fruit“Come round at 7 o’clock for a quick apéro and we’ll go out when no one is around.” “Pardon me, I thought this was legal?” “Well maybe it is, but the farmers don’t like it!” Thus went our introduction to this fine tradition.

Glanage translates into English as gleaning and “is the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers' fields after they have been commercially harvested” according to Wikipedia. So off we went into the black current fields in Taizé which were harvested a few days ago. Black currents are used to make crème de cassis a blackcurrant liqueur which is mixed with Bourgogne Aligote (white wine) to make the popular aperitif Kir.

It is quite amazing just how much fruit is left to rot and go to waste, apparently it is just not economically viable to collect it. Not so long ago, all harvesting was still done by hand and the pickings were very thin on the ground, now there is enough fruit left for the whole of Chazelle to make enough jam for a year! The local farmThe same with the vines, seemingly tonnes of grapes are left to go to waste in the vineyards where they use mechanical pickers and Sunday afternoons in September will see hundreds of French in the vineyards collecting these left-over grapes. Seemingly nothing goes to waste, if it’s free and vaguely edible, the locals are out there collecting it.

Agnès is off to collect red and white currents over the next day or two, but Cees has banned me from going due to the fact that we have enough jam in the cupboard to last a lifetime already and if I can’t be bothered to pick my own red currents why would I go out at dusk and raid a farmer’s field - he’s got a point I suppose!

For our website about the gites we rent out click here.

1 comment:

  1. Aha, another minor mystery for me solved. In May on my jogging/walking loops around Ameugny and Taize, I always wandered about those plants that looked to me to be not quite viney enough to be vines. The fruit at the time were just small green balls and my lack of agricultural knowledge didn't allow me to connect the dots to currants.


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