First discovered inAntiquity, cress has been a very popular foodever since. Cress from Méréville, and more broadly Essonne, now accounts for 40% of French production, making the department the largest producer in the country. After it arrived in France in 1811, there was a considerable increase in cress production in this part of France in the 19thcentury.
At Méréville they mainly grow watercress, prized for its spicy flavour and freshness. Rich in iron, calcium and vitamins, Méréville cress is eaten in salads, in a tart or as an accompaniment to grilled beef or lamb. In winter, Méréville cress is also delicious in a soup with a little cream!
Being 93% water, cress is an ideal vegetable for diets, and its high fibre content aids digestion. It also has a large amount of vitamin C and provitamin A, which slows down the ageing of cells and is said to be effective against cardiovascular disorders.
Each yearduring the Easter weekend, the town of Méréville holdsits traditional cressfair. This is an opportunity to see stalls, a funfair and various types of entertainment. Guided tours of the cress farms are also organised.