While the next month will see many of us munching our way through another mountain of post-Easter chocolate eggs, did you know that in France it’s fish they’ll be eating? Despite being called friture, these are also more likely to be of the confectionery variety. And you can expect to see them swimming around for pretty much the whole of April.
The friture, or Easter Fish as they are also known, are handed out to young tricksters who having stuck a paper fish on to the back of an unsuspecting adult scarper with the cry of, “Poisson d’Avril!”
Tradition has it, this April fool style joke, started with another popular hoax that saw a hapless shopper being sent to the market with instructions to buy a freshwater fish that wasn’t in season. Made to look foolish in front of the fishmonger, they’d be sent home blushing from ear to ear.
It’s tempting to suggest that, these days even French kindergarten kids are schooled in the knowledge of when to buy oysters. Sadly a lesson unlikely to be learnt by their cross Channel counterparts.
So unless you’re planning a trip to the Alsace, which turns a separatist eye to Germany for its seasonal customs, if in France this April, don’t forget to watch your back!
If you’re craving fish over chocolate, battered squid rings, you’ll find are pretty satisfying.