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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of

This week, we have facts about a frog festival in northeastern France, where the town of Vittel celebrates the culinary possibilities of the frog.


CURWOOD: Welcome back to Living on Earth. I’m Steve Curwood.

[MUSIC: Tin Hat Trio, "Big Top," (Angel – 1999)]

CURWOOD: If you have a hankering for frog legs, I suggest you head to northeastern France. The landscape there is green and wet. It’s the perfect home for frogs. And each year, for the past 30 years, the little town of Vittel holds a festival to celebrate the fine art of frog feasting.

British author, Peter Mayle, made a trip to Vittel, and found that it all started when the pond of a local chef, by the name of René Clément, became overpopulated with frogs one spring. So, Chef Clément set up a table in front of his restaurant, cooked up all these frog legs, and fed them to the town. And so, a tradition was born.

On the last weekend in April, the normally sleepy vacation town goes frog wild. Frogs appear in fashion and fitness ads, sporting swimsuits, and lifting weights. They’re sculpted out of chocolate, and handed out as fuzzy toys. And, of course, frogs are hopping on every menu in town. About 30,000 people spend the weekend munching away.

By the end of the festival, about five tons of frogs had been consumed. Most are served the traditional way; sautéed in garlic and oil. But, one popular recipe calls for amphibian thighs poached in Riesling wine and garnished with escargot. And for this week, that’s the Living on Earth Almanac.




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