The small fruit symbol of the French region of Lorraine: The Mirabelle
When it comes to French cuisine, the Lorraine region is known for its quiche, its pôtée, its madeleines, its macaroons, its rum babas and also and especially its mirabelles.
The mirabelle is the fruit of the mirabelle tree, a variety of plum tree. It is an excellent fruit on the palate, the size of a cherry and sometimes covered with a thin waxy layer that guarantees its freshness. Mirabelle have a colour that varies according to their maturity: they are first green, then yellow, then orange and when ripe they usually have pinkish red spots. There are many ways to eat mirabelles, in pies, jams, liqueurs, fruit in syrup, brandy, cooked or raw…
The mirabelle season is an intense and dynamic period in Lorraine. Indeed, from mid-August to the end of September, Lorraine producers harvest their mirabelles with the help of hundreds of seasonal workers. The fruits are produced in 27 villages, covering an area of about 650 hectares. They will then be sold for consumption throughout the world, since Lorraine alone accounts for 70 to 80% of the world’s mirabelle production.
The city of Metz organises a Mirabelle Festival every year for two weeks in August. This popular festival welcomes many producers and merchants who offer products based on mirabelles: fresh fruit, tarts, liqueur, jam, etc. The festival is also accompanied by musical concerts, art exhibitions, a gala celebration as well as a parade with floats and a competition to designate the Queen of the Mirabelle.
Mirabelles from Lorraine can also be found in other European countries, e.g. Germany, where they are very popular in the south and south-west, Spain, where they have been introduced in the mid-twentieth century, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland.
Written by Cécile Houzelles – Study Visitor in Communication at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament (Luxembourg) and student in the Master program in Learning and Communication in Multilingual and Multicultural Contexts at the University of Luxembourg. She speaks French, English, Portuguese and she is learning German