This week’s menus are from Montpellier, the fastest growing (and 8th largest) city in France. Home to one of the world’s oldest medical schools (and now largest biotech research centres in the country), Montpellier lies in one of France’s most beautiful regions: Languedoc, running along the Mediterranean coast west of the Côte d’Azur. Our favourite places to visit include the walled fortress city of Carcassonne (a UNESCO world heritage site), and the ‘Côte Vermeille’, where the mountains of the Pyrenees drop dramatically into the ocean. Montpellier, with it’s beautiful medieval town centre (l’Écusson), is a delight year-round.
So, what are children eating this week in Montpellier? First of all, there are three days of holiday (yes, the French do take lots of holidays, part of their ‘work hard, play hard’ philosophy!). So only two (admittedly yummy) menus are an offer this week. Note the inclusion of cookies for dessert on Tuesday. Ministry of Education regulations specify fresh fruit for dessert most days of the week. However, treats are allowed too! All part of the French philosophy of food: moderation, not deprivation.
As usual, the meals follow a four course structure: vegetable starter; main dish with vegetable side; cheese course; dessert. All meals are served with fresh baguette (eaten plain) and water. No flavoured milk, juice, sports drinks, or pop. No vending machines. No fast food or junk food. Food for thought!
Monday, May 14th
Grated carrot salad (a French kids classic)
Meatballs (beef) in tomato sauce (meatless option: chickpeas) with couscous
Cheese: Fromage frais, eaten plain
Tuesday, May 15th
Fish filet in butter, with lemon
Ratatouille (stewed eggplant, zucchini (courgette), tomato and red pepper)
Cheese: Pavé d’Affinois brebis (a soft cheese, with a white rind, made of sheep’s milk; somewhat like Brie)
Dessert: Petit Beurre (the classic French cookie, also known as a Petit Lu)
This blog post is part of my French Kids School Lunch Project. Every week, I post the school lunch menus from a different village or town in France, where three-course, freshly-prepared hot lunches are provided to over 6 million children in the public school system every day. These meals cost, on average, $3 per child per day (and prices for low-income families are subsidised). My hope is that these menus (together with my other blog posts about the French approach to kid’s food) will spark a conversation about what children CAN eat, and how we can do better at educating them to eat well.