Gourmet compote workshop at “La Plantelière”

poster1compotewebWe ran a compote workshop on Sunday to promote the utilisation of small apples and windfalls. Two posters explained how to turn food wasting behaviours into gourmet dessert making and a live demonstration enabled the audience to contribute and taste.  

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Many of the visitors to our stall on Sunday declared that they used windfalls and small apples to make compote. But once asked about their ways of doing it, most of them said that they were peeling the small apples.

Really? Apples sometimes as small as an apricot? I doubt they actually do that very often: it is time-consuming to proceed that way, in particular to make enough quantity for a family.

The live demonstration we ran showed how to make the compote without skinning the apples. The method was acknowledged as an effective time-saving solution by the audience.

A leaflet explaining the process was at their disposal on the table, also raising awareness of the possible use of damaged apples and the making of gourmet compotes to suit various tastes and dietary requirements. The leaflet was available to take home and try for oneself.

Posters

Two A1 posters were displayed on the stall, which were a large size version of the double-sided black and white A5 leaflet:

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Here is the version we would use if we were to run the workshop in English:

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From graphic design to product tasting

Communicating through a short set of words with a minimal design was our aim, to leave room for the essential part, the actual making. We wanted visitors to be close to the matter, the apples, their imperfections, for them to see how to actually get rid of them and turn the fruit into flavoured and textured nutritious compotes they could taste.

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Image… This visual was downloaded from the Internet to create a Photoshop mask and provide colour on the posters. It was an ink-saving option in line with our ecological commitments.

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Reality… Free of any chemical treatment, these apples enable compote makers to use the skins full of vitamins and minerals. Some are lost during cooking and when passing the compote through the sieve, but less than if the apples were peeled beforehand. Picture taken in the orchard where we collected the windfalls for the compote workshop. 5 October, La Plantelière, Aurillac, France.

More than 400 samples of compote were tasted by the visitors on Sunday 2 October. We had cooked five compotes in advance: plain unsweetened, vanilla, cinnamon, with blackberry coulis and sweetened with honey.

The compote made on the day was an opportunity to test other flavours in collaboration with the audience: “how much chocolate would you say we should add?” We added one spoonful, stirred, tested the result together, then added a second one…

One of the most popular mix was apple compote with sweet chestnut puree and a touch of vanilla. It was my favourite too.

With regards to texture, I was surprised that some children preferred the thicker compotes to the smoother ones, although the smoother were closer to the textures usually found in the trade.

Overall, it was a great pleasure to see children and adults caring about what they were tasting and enjoying the experience. This first experiment of a compote workshop at the annual fair of La Plantelière will probably be followed with others.

La Plantelière

“La Plantelière” is a public space dedicated to the discovery of nature and education for the environment that provides workshops and games for school children and adults. The events organised onsite throughout the year raise awareness of environmentally friendly solutions people can apply themselves.

This compote workshop was carried out as part of an internship I am going through to complete my degree in education for sustainable development at the Blaise Pascal – Clermont-Ferrand university.

I offered my skills to conceive, design and run the workshop, including writing and editing the visuals. The environment department of the urban community of the Aurillac area (“Communauté d’agglomération du Bassin d’Aurillac”), which own and run La Plantelière, fully supported the initiative. They even made three of the six liters of compote we produced in advance.

The workshop was added to the programme of the annual fair of La Plantelière, making it one of the twelve animations proposed to the public of families and individuals who visited.

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Poster of the annual fair. Workshops and games: plants and fruit, beekeeping, environmentally friendly gardening, waste sorting and composting…

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There are two orchards in La Plantelière, including the “orchard of shapes”. See our 25 May 2016 post “La Plantelière” for more pictures and a detailed description of an educational training on fruit trees.

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The second one is a conservatory orchard where local cultivars are grown. Some of the trees give apples that are far from trade standard requirements. But in terms of flavours and textures, they are among the best you will ever find. A great ingredient to make true gourmet compotes.

  • The apples produced in La Plantelière are aimed at fulfilling various educational purposes. Please note that it is forbidden for the public to pick them on the trees.
  • More information in French on La Plantelière and its activities here
  • Recipes: This blog features various compote recipes and compote making experiences. Read for instance our posts “Compote” and “The simplest of compotes”

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