"Food eaten in company is the most appetizing", said a character of Toradora! a series of Japanese light-novel; one of those with a maddish succession among graphic novel, video-games and stuffs. A world stranger to us, that however recalls in way some a childish and glorious motto: "happiness is true only when is shared", from "Into the wild." We like the frivolous things, to be taken seriously but without any kind of exageration. The food is this kind of thing. It has an extremely more intense taste when is shared, also when it avoids excesses of seriousness and is offered and consumed in the street. On the other hand football doesn't exist without a rooted and perpetual sharing also in the hours before the game.

It was this necessity to share the moments that surrounding the game, to have pushed Guillaume Blot and Roca Balboa to build a map of the best places of street food in the proximities of the French stadiums. A map of the most beloved places, of those that have produced affection and tradition in the house-supporters that then invite the guest to live their city. In two words: "Buvettes".

 

Buvettes, how to eat at the football stadium Interview with the founder of one of the hottest online project right now | Image 4

Let’s start with a basic question: is there a rule about eating before to chill yourself out, or it is better after the match using food as relief or to celebrate? Most of the people live the whole time before the match so eagerly and they cannot just think about the food. Do you?

In my opinion there are 3 periods when u can eat food or drink beers linked to a match: before/during the half time or just after. I always eat before, trying to come like 45’ before the first half, going to a snack buying french fries with mayo and a pint of beer. I often go with my dad in Nantes, the city where I learned to love football and sausages sandwich, and sometimes with friends in Paris. At the half-time I will take nothing, because it’s fucking free alcohol beer inside French stadium, and it’s like to order a vegan plate in the best Texas BBQ restaurant. And after it depends on the result. I need a very good game and victory to stay and talk again about the goal of Emiliano Sala from FC Nantes. But it’s very rare.


Football has always been the most important street sport in all over the world – just think about Brazilian guys. Recently the “street” concept has tied football to other lifestyles: the street art, for example, but even the street food of course. So, was your idea born suddenly, just because you love football and food, or did you look for something that would join people even before or after the single match?

The idea first was to make a guide of football buvettes from France. It came to my mind in January 2015. I was at this time writing for a French restaurant guide named Le Fooding. I met the guys from So Foot and I told them “and If I could visit stadiums from France by their snacks, and write small articles about 3 of them in each?”. And they say yes. So I went to my first stadium in the end of January 2015: Rennes, one of the most famous stadium linked to food, with the special Galette-Saucisse. I decided to select 3 snacks, and to take pictures and record sound. I did it after for 13 stadiums in France, from Marseille to Lyon, through Lille, Nantes, Metz, Guingamp, etc. For each snack was great, because more than tasting food, I could really enjoy the pre-game moment, when fans are very excited. I love it. This project also please me because I love football culture and supporters. And “food moment”, as a ritual of fans, is very linked to them.

 

Buvettes, how to eat at the football stadium Interview with the founder of one of the hottest online project right now | Image 0


Let’s talk about the illustrations. They are so simple but so meaningful as well. Roca Balboa has a personal website, where people can see her works and buy some pillows. The French illustrations history has been so great – I’m thinking about Moebius -, how much did it influenced the way she draws
?

As a French kid I grew up with the books of Sempé and Goscinny and I always loved Sempé’s drawings because of their minimalism and lightness. Then I discovered plenty of others artists and illustrators – including Moebius. I really like the range of color that he uses in his work – all the pastel tones and gradients. Pop culture and tv cartoons are also a big part of my inspiration.


Other few questions about illustrations: why the doner kebab in the contact page? Do you put the French fries cone to point the track or food-store on the map because you think – so do I – as the French fries is the best beautiful shape in all the food world?

I share this point of view about French fries: for me, it really embodies the finger food. Every snack has it. I grew up with them, when Macdonald was synonymous of 3 stars restaurant in my youth. I also love the color, yellow, my favorite one. And the package Roca Balboa draw is really cool, with the red part. So I decided to put it as a landmark. About kebab, I was more looking for a vertical food to put it in an aesthetic way in my contact page. Her kebab is also great, and symbolized also the snack food for me.

Buvettes, how to eat at the football stadium Interview with the founder of one of the hottest online project right now | Image 2


How do you choose the city and stadium? Are you following a schedule or you just choose the stadium and city checking the famous places where to eat street food around it?

I decided to go to Stadium and Cities which attracted me, in France first, choosing football clubs in first division. For that I checked my Google Agenda and saw that I had some free week-ends to go, and I tried to mix two cities in the same region, so I went in Monaco and Nice in the same time, or Evian and Saint-Étienne. Then, the idea was to ask people or football fans groups: “where is the best for you?” and to talk with the snack to know more about them: is it a family affair? where do the sausages come from? Are they homemade french fries? Which team do u really support? how many hot-dog per match? etc. One of the goal of the project was to see if I can find regional food in some cities. The answer is yes for Rennes (famous galette-saucisse), Lille (special french fries), Nice (socca and pissaladière), Évian (Diot sausages).


You are going in different cities in France, different cultures, different cooking cultures. There are a lot of kind of food famous and eaten in all over the France, but which are the most common foods people like to enjoy before or after the match? Besides French fries.

As I answered in the last question regional specialties, I would say that we can find always a basic menu: kebab, pizza, hot dog, merguez sandwich, steak sandwich, American sandwich, hamburger, panini. This is the really classic part. Once I talked to a snack in Nantes asking them “do you have original food in your menu?”. They answer : “we try smoked ham once, but people didn’t want it, they always ask the same, and we lost our stock of smoked ham because only few people wanted it”. As a ritual, supporters want “ritual food” such as french fries and sandwich. About spectators, who only come to stadium as they could go to cinema, this kind of people is more interested in eating other kind of finger food.

Buvettes, how to eat at the football stadium Interview with the founder of one of the hottest online project right now | Image 5

 

Guillaume Blot makes the photos and writes the texts. On his personal website we can understand the great passion and work on photography. The photos and illustrations are important as much as the blog texts. On Instagram the food pictures are always a kind of trend – often a boring trend – how much do you think a good photo is important to talk about food passion, and the way the food can tie people?

Food is something very visual more than tasty: full of shapes and colors. And we are linked to it every day, because it really give the rythm of it, with breakfast, lunch and diner. As a lot of people want to communicate their daily life on social networks to show that they are alive people, one of the easiest way to do it is to take what they eat in photo, and especially what they eat in restaurant, where the plates are very often beautiful (or more than in house). That’s how finally #foodporn became a trend, and is now more than a trend, it became boring, because of too much and lack of creativity from a lot of account: always the same. My approach is more on supporters and everyday situation, linked to food then. I will try, in order to illustrating my articles, to take photos of fans eating. For me they are more living than only a great white plate with fat burger.

Buvettes, how to eat at the football stadium Interview with the founder of one of the hottest online project right now | Image 1


Which teams do you support?

I support first FC Nantes, where I grew up, and then Olympique de Marseille, where I studied for 3 years. I knew one of the great period for Nantes, when they won the title of French championship in 1995 and 2001, after results were bad but I am still here. About Marseille, I am lucky, because I knew the 2010 title there. It was amazing, believe me, this is a city of passion, and especially about football.


Which street food do you support? “French fries” can be the answer.

I especially support Galette-Saucisse, but not the traditional with only a galette and a sausage, which is for me too dry, but with onions and cheese inside. I wrote an article about it for Vice Magazine, through Munchies. This is a nice story.

Buvettes, how to eat at the football stadium Interview with the founder of one of the hottest online project right now | Image 3


Will you think to enjoy international experience, visiting other countries, stadiums, food culture? You could start from Italy!

Yes, this project can take different scale, from lower league football and stadium in France, to make a European tour, and an international one. Then I could visit other sports. In Italy, I read that you eat a sandwich with a grilled sausage, often with onions + paprika, called 'salsiccia', or porchetta sandwich (pork + crazy herbs). Milan could be a good start I think.


A lot of pictures show people happy and grateful. Probably because soccer and food make them happy and grateful. Maybe we just need to enjoy soccer matches and eat food and nothing else, don’t you think so?

Like everything, we have to balance our wished to feel good. I think some football games and some great food before match are a good recipe to be happy, because you mix a lot of “smile moments”: friends, community, fat food, game, 90’ of emotions. But sometimes, not everyday, to keep these moments magical, and not diary. You have to feel the lack to really enjoy them!

You can follow Buvettes also on Instagram and Facebook!

6 More photos
Snoop