France creates task force amid ‘historic’ drought

The French government has activated a crisis task force to coordinate efforts to alleviate the impacts of a “historic” drought exacerbated by a third extreme heatwave of the summer. 

Water restrictions have already been ordered in nearly all of France’s 96 mainland departments, with 62 at the highest alert level, and the Meteo-France weather agency has forecast little relief for the coming weeks.

“This drought is the worst ever recorded in our country… the situation could persist for the next two weeks or become even worse,” the office of Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said in a statement.

The dry conditions are a “disaster” for farmers across the country as well as for “our ecosystems and biodiversity,” it added.

And soaring temperatures have increased the evaporation of lakes and rivers whose levels have fallen just as irrigation needs are increasing ahead of autumn harvests.

The state-controlled electricity provider EDF has also had to reduce output at several nuclear plants because river temperatures have become too high, which means water used to cool reactors cannot be safely returned to natural waterways.

“Faced with this historic situation, the prime minister has decided to activate an interdepartmental crisis task force and urges everyone to conserve our water resources,” her office said.

But the statement did not address growing criticism over exceptions that have been granted to golf courses, which are being allowed to continue watering greens even in departments now on drought crisis alert.

Several other European countries have also issued severe drought warnings, with the EU urging members this week to re-use treated urban wastewater for the continent’s parched farms.



Monaco Life with AFP. Photo by Mike Erskine on Unsplash.




Michelin star chefs creating passenger meals for Air France

Air France has unveiled new Michelin-starred menus for premium class passengers providing a more luxurious… and sustainable… experience.

For foodies who tend to turn left when boarding flights, Air France will be a popular choice in the not-too-distant future.

The French national carrier has responded to the uptick in travel since the start of summer by revamping its ‘La Première’ product, though the new first-class cabin design will not be ready for another two years. For more instant gratification, the airline has decided to bring forward the dates for launching its new front-of-cabin menus for premium travellers.

From July to October of this year, First and Business class passengers departing from Paris will be able to savour the flavours created by chefs Michel Roth and Anne-Sophie Pic using sustainably sourced ingredients, making the meals not only delicious, but eco-friendly as well.

Michel Roth, Executive Chef at the Hotel Ritz in Paris, and formerly chef at L’Espadon and Lasserre, has been awarded several Michelin stars in his celebrated career as well as famous titles like Bocuse d’Or and Meilleur Ouvrier de France.

His inventive menus in his restaurants have translated to equally inventive ones for Air France’s first-class cabin. A sample of some of the delicacies are a pancake appetiser with caviar Sturia and smoked fish cream, and a lobster medallion, green asparagus and raspberry vinaigrette starter.

The mains are no less tempting, with choices like tender beef, pan-seared foie gras with a truffle sauce, oven-cooked verbena veal, and shrimp in lobster sauce perfumed with tarragon, red rice, and baby spinach (pictured above).

These treats will be available on certain flights to Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Washington, Sao Paulo, Mexico City, Abidjan, Dubai, and Johannesburg, though only 19 of the 43 Boeing 777-300’s retrofitted with La Première will be carrying the new menu for the short term.

Anne-Sophie Pic will run the show for Business Class passengers. Pic is the most starred female chef, boasting 10 Michelin stars to her credit, in addition to several awards.

Her delectable meals feature braised beef with potato mousseline, smoked vanilla Burrata with tangy tomato coulis, and poached saithe with curry and coconut milk sauce.

In addition to being responsibly sourced, Air France is also offering French meat, eggs and dairy exclusively on all flights from Paris in all classes of service by year’s end. Vegetarian dishes will also be offered. By using local produce, the airline hopes to respect seasonal produce and encourage sustainable farming practices. Additionally, kids and infants’ menus will be entirely organic.

Photo: Shrimp in lobster sauce, perfumed with tarragon, source: Air France