France may be world famous for its gastronomic delights, yet a couple who moved from the UK three years ago believe they have discovered a winning recipe to satisfy even the most traditional gourmands.
Debbie Hewitt and Andy Read moved to a small farming hamlet in the Vienne, in the centre of France two years ago. They soon set up a food truck business called Pois Chic.
"We were inspired by a visit to Israel and Palestine where we fell in love with street food and especially falafel," explained Debbie, a former teacher and environmental officer. "France is renowned for its cuisine, but we've been struck by the lack of healthy and vegetarian food options. When we discovered a local farm which grew organic chickpeas -- the main ingredient for falafel - we decided to offer something fresh, local and different."
For the past 18 months Pois Chic has served over 4,000 meals at markets and festivals across the Poitou-Charentes region. Last year they were one of only 15 French street food businesses to be chosen to compete at the prestigious Food Truck of the Year event in Paris.
Now the couple have just acquired two hectares of land in their hamlet, in order to grow more of the food needed for their business. In August four male alpacas will arrive on their small-holding from Nigel and Ginny Cobb at Europe Alpacas, based just an hour from their home. The four young male alpacas will help maintain the pasture and protect the couple's flock of free-range hens.
"Most of our customers are French, and it is very important for them that food is locally produced and if possible, organic," explained Andy, a former journalist who was Mayor of Stroud in Gloucestershire before leaving for France.
"Running a food truck has been a great way for us to become a little more integrated in our community and explore this lovely area of France."
You can find out more about Andy and Debbie's experiences via their website.