Saveurs Paris Ile-de-France: La Marque Régionale

I found out about the Saveurs Ile-de-France brand while wondering around the Salon de l'Agriculture. It was in the Saveurs sponsered section of the salon that I discovered great regional and artisinal beers. I hadn't realized that the brand extended beyond marketting at the Salon until I unloaded the stash of organic beer I bought from Brasserie Chevreuse and noticed that the bright green Ile-de-France tote bag that the brewer had sent me and his beer home with contained information about this regional brand. Saveurs Paris Ile-de-France is an ambitious and organized system of classifying agricultural, artisinal, and even industrial food products that come from the Ile-de-France region (which includes the areas surrounding Paris to total a little over 12,000 km of land).

Broken down into three distincts colors, these brands are an easy guide to use when you want to be sure to buy local. Here's a little translation of the color coding, in case you stumble upon the brand, or try to seek it out:

Green Saveurs labels denote that the agricultural product was cultivated or produced within the Ile-de-France,

Blue labels indicate that the product was made by an artisanal food producer within the region, and

Grey labels mean that the item was produced by a small or mid-sized agro/food business located in the Ile-de-France.

The brand and its coding system were created by an association called CERVIA (Le Centre Regional de la Valorisation et d'Innovation Agricole et Alimentaire). Created in 2007, the association works to increase the appreciation of local agriculture as well as engender support for producers in the Ile-de-France region, combining both promotion and innovation in the field.

While the labels are probably their most visable contribution to the local cause, their website is also worth visiting. I was really impressed by how informative and interactive it is. My favorite feature is the fact that you can find recipes inspired by local products. The "Cuisiner et Savoir" section of the site allows visiters to chose an item that is typical of the Ile-de-France region (asparagus, apples, even croissants!) and then be offered a variety of recipes in which local produce plays the starring role. Regional alcohols are also included in the list. So, if your looking for local cocktail ideas, why not try the Gentil Coquelicot (The Nice Poppy)?

Le Gentil Coquelicot For 1 Person: 3 tsps Liqueur de Coquelicot (from Provins) 2 tsps Cointreau Crémant de Loire

Pour your liqueur and Cointreau into a Champagne flute, then top off with your Crément, or any sparkly wine of your choice.

I'll bet you could find a nice apèro to go with this cocktail, just check out their site!