"The Londonaise", a three days Pétanque tournament, now in its second year, is becoming a ‘hipster’ event. On the afternoon of Saturday 6 June a free Doubles Melee competition will take place in Barnard Park, Islington and you will be taking part. Mais oui! oui!
Pétanque is that funny boules game, old men play wherever you look when you holiday in the South of France. It involves a lots of hand gestures, near arguments resolved with another dose of Ricard and another round of throwing hollow silver boules as close as possible to a tiny wooden ball called the cochonnet.
Who would have thought that this oldfangled game was popular in London? As it happens among the "fana" of the game there is the Angelus’ owner Thierry Tomasin.
He is so passionate about French boules that he put his mind to organising the UK’s largest public entry International Petanque tournament and call it the ‘The Londonaise’ .....
It was an instant hit. This year, the festival will run over 3 days and host 128 teams. It’s open to absolutely anyone from novices to experts with lots of prizes on offer.
Everyone is invited to play on the 6th and if the day is anything like the evening he and I spent in the Angelus, Thierry Thomasin's restaurant. An art nouveau-style brasserie with fixed-price options and a lengthy, Franco-centric wine list, the event is going to be the friendliest, warmest sporting event of the year.
To promote the event The Angelus' kitchen team have created a special dish entitled ‘The Cochonette’, which will be served as part of the restaurant’s set lunch menu for the whole of June.
Thierry explains, "Each element of this dish draws on the subtle nuances of the game of Petanque for ‘A Sud de France’, experience that is savoured in the colours, textures and smell of the dish, all in honour of the Londonaise.”
‘The Cochonette’ special consists of braised shoulder of Provençal lamb encased in a golden, round case of pastry that represents the boule, and pulled pork rolled in crisp breadcrumbs to represent the cochonette. Both are accompanied by a Mediterranean vegetable tian and rich and moreish Champagne sauce, and balanced by fresh cos lettuce purée and charred herbs.
The Angelus' team was kind enough to make this dish especially for Pebble Soup to preview. We spend a cosy 2 hours eating boules and cochonnet and never before, the petanque looked so amazing nor tasted so good. It was a real wow moment. The lamb melting in its soft pastry case was a pure delight.
There was a moment when I regretted that the game is not played with more cochonets but as it was the portions were perfect, leaving us to dream about coming back to play, sorry eat some more.
Now for the practical details:
The Londonaise Pétanque festival will see a 128 teams take part, as well as ‘Artisan British and French food stalls’. The festival also aims to raise funds for its associated charity ‘The Mercury Phoenix Trust’ which was set up in memory of Freddie Mercury and is responsible for raising awareness and funding charities globally in the worldwide fight against AIDS.
For more information and to enter, visit: http://www.thelondonaise.coThe Angelus
Address: 4 Bathurst Street, London W2 2SD
Phone:020 7402 0083
open from 10.00 for breakfast/brunch until 11.00
Disclaimer: my grateful thanks to the kitchen team at the Angelus for re-creating the cochonette menu especially for us. This is not a paid post, words are my own.