On March 19 Goût de France / Good France will celebrate French gastronomy around the world. A committee of international chefs, led by Alain Ducasse, will select the participating restaurants. Worldwide, over 1300 chefs on five continents are expected to join in. Dinners will be served simultaneously in restaurants honouring the merits of French cuisine, its capacity for innovation and its values: sharing, enjoying and respecting the principles of high-quality, environmentally responsible cuisine. According to Alain Ducasse, ‘French cuisine has this power to enhance imagination and to bring happiness in a potentially difficult context’. Let’s see!
On Sunday 11 January, French citizens were joined by world leaders in a solidarity march paying tribute to victims of Islamist militant attacks in France. One photo taken by Reuters photographer Stephane Mahé quickly became a powerful and symbolic image, circulating widely in France and drawing interest from local newspapers, radio and television programmes. Today, this picture will be displayed on the front wall of Centre Pompidou to remind people of the spirit of fraternity that has recently emerged. The picture is called “Pen leading the people” as a reference to the famous painting of Eugene Delacroix: Liberty leading the people, in 1830.
This weekend saw the final of the competition for Miss France. The winner is Camille Cerf, 19 years old already Miss Nord Pas-de-Calais. This is the first time that Miss Nord Pas-de-Calais has won the beauty pageant since it was created in 1920.
Camille is a student at EGC business School in Lille. She would like to become a communications officer, to promote crafts of French regions nationally and internationally. She is also interested in helping cancer research as her father died from it.
On the third Thursday of November, French people celebrate Le Beaujolais Nouveau. This is a wine released just weeks after the grapes have been harvested. Parties are held throughout the country and further afield to celebrate the first wine of the season.
Made entirely from the thin-skinned Gamay grape from two appellations south of France’s Burgundy region, the year’s youngest wines are made via carbonic maceration. Whole grapes are tossed into a tank and the process starts right there, each grape fermenting in its own skin.
Because the grapes aren’t crushed, tannins are minimized and fruit flavours maximized, the upshot being a light-bodied, fresh and fruity wine with flavours often described as strawberry, bubble-gum, kirsch and banana. This year the Beaujolais Nouveau features rich black raspberry fruit with a peppery edge and a little licorice sass.
Do you know the famous Tarte Tatin? The first Tarte Tatin was served in 1898. The two sisters who created this first upside down apple pie the Tarte Tatin were Stéphanie Tatin (1838-1917) and Caroline Tatin (1847-1911). According to tradition it was Stéphanie Tatin who accidentally placed her apple tart in the oven upside down. Despite that seeming unsolvable problem, Stéphanie Tatin, like any great chef when faced with disaster, knew the show must go on. Stéphanie carried on and served the pie as a new creation. The guests loved the new recipe and Stéphanie Tatin had found a place for herself and her sister, and the Tarte Tatin, in the history of French cuisine. The original recipe is protected by its own brotherhood and sisterhood: La Confrérie de Lichonneux de Tarte Tatin.
However you can still try this recipe. Bon appetit!
- 250 g butter enriched puff pastry
- 5 British Braeburn apples, peeled, cored and quartered
- 165 g Fairtrade granulated sugar
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 0.5 tsp Madagascan vanilla extract
- 50 g unsalted butter
- A little plain flour for dusting
Preheat the oven to 200°C, fan 180°C, gas 6. Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and cut out a 28cm circle. Place in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes
In a bowl, toss the apple quarters with 55g of the sugar, the lemon juice and the vanilla extract. Set aside.
In a 24cm ovenproof frying pan, melt the butter over a medium heat and add the remaining sugar. Turn down to a gentle heat and leave, without stirring, for 4-5 minutes, until the mixture turns a golden caramel colour – don’t worry if it looks as if it has separated, as this is normal. Remove from the heat.
Arrange the apples on top of the caramel, rounded side down, in a circular pattern. Cover with the pastry circle, tucking the edges inside the pan around the apples. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes, until puffed and golden.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes. Invert a plate over the pan and turn over. Serve warm.
Cook’s tip: when rolling out pastry, roll from the middle upwards then the middle downwards before turning 90 degrees and repeating. This helps the pastry roll evenly.
The Fondation Louis Vuitton has just opened its doors. This extraordinary space for art and culture was conceived by architect Frank Gehry as a vessel whose sails soar amidst the trees of the Bois de Boulogne. The foundation aims to “promote and support contemporary and artistic creation” in France.
At the heart of each spaces, the public will be invited to discover the permanent collection of works belonging to the Fondation or the Arnault collection, as well as temporary exhibitions – two a year – and musical events in the auditorium.
LVMH will give the museum and its contents to the city of Paris in 55 years.
For more information visit http://www.fondationlouisvuitton.fr/en.html.
Every year in Bordeaux there is a digital week. This year’s edition will take place from 13 to 18 October. There will be conferences, digital presentations, workshops, meetings and debates all over the town.
In addition, there is a day this year dedicated to women. On Tuesday the 14th questions will be centred on women’s issues with questions such as:
- how to conciliate personal life with a digital job? Or
- what are the digital opportunities for women?
Students, bloggers or women entrepreneurs will give their testimonials along with conferences around the topic: How to be successful thanks to networking
Atmosphere in a job place is a key factor for most French people. Ten years ago, a business event called I love my company was created. Its concept was based on the fact that despite you spend the most of your time in your work place you don’t necessary know your colleagues very well. Thus, the objectives of I love my company were to deliver a positive message about the work place, to encourage team working and the feeling of belonging to a family.
To celebrate this event, employees are asked to promote their company’s atmosphere by making photos or videos. From 2 to 17 October participants have a carte blanch to do whatever they want to show how great their workplace is. No doubt, some are already having a great time doing it as you can see in this video!
Singer Arthur H is the son of Jacques Higelin, famous singer in the 70s and 80s. Arthur started his career in the 90s and immediately got recognition. His raucous voice and his style jazz-electro-rock is unique. This week his latest album has just been released. Called “Soleil dedans” – meaning “Sun inside” – it’s full of fantasy and poetry. Composed and recorded in Canada this album sounds like an invitation to travel. The video clips are beautifully refreshing – just prefect if you are already nostalgic about your latest holidays.
Heritage days are called “Les Journées du Patrimoine” in French. These are good occasions to visit beautiful places that usually have a restricted access to public. This year, for example, you can visit the North wing of the Palace of Versailles. Built by Jules Hardouin-Mansart between 1685 and 1689, the North wing offers unprecedented visits of amazing spaces and collections , from the Morocco Court to the attic, from the 17th century to the Third French Republic.