One of the highlights of our trip to SIAL is always the first night bash laid on by Food from Britain. That's the occasion when nearly 200 food folk pack into the UK pavilion, gorge themselves on British delicacies and sup enough to make even the thirsty Gauls go green with envy. For the record, a little Gallic bird tells me that this year's party drank four kegs of Cobra beer, 150 bottles of red wine and 144 bottles of English ale. No prizes for guessing the name of the well known US supermarket chain whose buyers refused to wear name badges while touring the show in order to "preserve anonymity". Alas, the sharp suits, close cropped skulls and southern drawl were a giveaway! Not sure what they thought of the show. But it certainly left my colleagues gasping ­ quite literally. Sial must be the only show in the world where smoking is a pre-requisite for entry. Worse still, the organisers also allowed dogs (of the canine variety) into the show. The apparent lack of health consciousness among the smoking hordes jarred with the big displays in the fresh veg halls promoting the country's new 10-a-day challenge. Tall order, given the rest of the world is struggling with the five-a-day advice. One of my colleagues was also struggling to discover where French agriculture minister Jean Glavany was due to speak. He asked one of the glamorous ladies in the press office who responded: "Who's Glavany?" In the end he proved easy to find ­ not many people are helicoptered into Sial. Most of us wished we were able to afford aerial transportation given the time it took to get back into Paris on the packed road back into town. Still I learnt a new word: bouchet (traffic jam). {{COUNTERPOINT }}