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Sunday, 27th May 2018

Golden Jackals in the Alps

Hunters in the Alpine Haute-Savoie claim that golden jackals are now hunting and living in the mountains of eastern France.

These predators are usually found in North Africa, Asia and south eastern Europe. Sightings of the golden jackal have been confirmed in neighbouring Italy, Germany and Switzerland.

Experts say they need more evidence before they will confirm that golden jackals are now living in the Alps!




Tuesday, 22nd May 2018

Still on the cheese theme......

Being a vegetarian is difficult in France. The number of vegetarians are increasing, but a few years ago just 1.5% of the French population were vegetarian compared to 14% in the UK.
I think this percentage is even lower in rural areas but pobably higher in the major cities.
I have no idea what proportion of the French population are vegan but it must be tiny.

So, I have to admire Anne Guth, a cheesemaker in the Lorraine region who has just launched a vegan Camembert. However, due to labelling rules she cannot call it a cheese.
Her Camembert is made from cashew nut milk and looks exactly the same as the traditional cows milk Camembert.

The process of making a vegan Camembert is very similar to that when using normal milk, combining the cashew nut milk with cultures, fermenting it to create the shape and then leaving it to mature for at least a month. The only stage that is missing is the curdling process seen with normal milk.

The only other difference between a cows milk Camambert and a cashew milk Camembert is the price. You can pick up a cows milk Camembert for around €1.40 whereas a the cashew milk equivalent will set you back €10.90




Friday, 18th May 2018

Cheese is now being made in Paris for the first time.

I find that quite hard to believe. A nation that is obsessed by cheese doesn’t have a cheese maker in its capital? Surprising, but up until now, the 1600 or however many cheeses that France claims to produce have all been regionally produced.

Entrepreneur, Pierre Coulon, 35, opened his production area / fromagerie just before Christmas selling organic, fair trade, regionally sourced products ( I think he covers just about everything !) in the 18th arrondisement just a few minutes walk from Montmatre.
Coulon is based in the Goutte d’Or neighbourhood, a traditional working class Parisian quarter, transformed by immigration from France’s former colonies in Africa. Now, young professionals, entrepreneurs and start-ups are moving in and changing the face of the neighbourhood.

Unpasteurised cows milk is delivered twice a week from the Seine-et-Marne department about an hours drive away. He also has deliveries of sheeps milk for yoghurt and goats milk for cheese.

Coulon plans to produce a wide variety of cheeses from goats’ cheese ti blue cheese, a Mirabelle liqueur finished cows’ chesse and a cheese washed in local beer.




Monday, 14th May 2018

Billboards are filming us.

Pretty scary, but it is true!
More than 11 million people a week are being filmed by digital advertising panels in shopping centres across France. If it is 11 million people a week in France, how many people a being filmed per week in the world.....

These smart billboards can then ‘advertise’ to each person depending on their age and sex.

There are cameras at the top of the billboards and using facial recognition software the advert changes depending on whom is approaching the billboard. It is very clever.




Wednesday, 9th May 2018

Cutii, the cure for loneliness

Loneliness is a growing problem amongst the elderly.

A new startup company may have found the answer, Cutii.

Cutii is a wheeled robot. It has a screen for video chats and responds to simple commands. Cutii, the robot companion is being tested in France, and for a monthly €70 subscription Cutii will help the elderly stay in touch with family and friends and will encourage them to stay active with Yoga and relaxation exercises and even Alpine walks (by video!)




Thursday, 4th May 2018

Young adults prefer organic wine.

Organic wine sales have tripled in seven years. Organic wine sales reached €1.2 billion in 2017 and sales are increasing due to the popularity of organic wines with the 18-25 year olds.

Organic wine is made without chemical fertilisers or synthetic pestisides and the use of sulfites are limited.

The success of these wines is now causing a problem as supply has outstripped demand which could pose a real problem this year as the 2017 harvest was 25% down on the projected harvest.

Organic wine



Monday, 30th April 2018

Cycling to be taught in schools

A French government statement has recommended that all primary school children be taught cycling. It says that children must learn how to ride safely in urban conditions so parents feel comfortable for them to cycle to collège (age 12-15)
Sedentary lifestyles mean that the average collège pupil has 40% of the cardio-vasular capacity of schoolchildren 40 years ago.
Bordeaux is cited as a great example of a metropolitan area which is encouraging bike use. In 2017 the amount of people using bikes to get around Bordeaux was up 12%. Bordeaux has set itselkf a target of increasing the proportion of daily journeys taken by bike fron 7.7% to 15%