The Fête de la Gastronomie is in full swing this weekend, and the sun is even shining. While we’re a little late with this announcement, it’s not too late to indulge and enjoy, so put the laptop away, grab a sweater, and take your appetite into the streets of Paris.
Gastronomy is serious business in France, and a matter of cultural pride. In 2010, UNESCO classified France’s gastronomy as “an intangible cultural heritage of humanity.” And the website of the French Ministère de l’Économie et des Finances says “when we celebrate French gastronomy, we honour France’s culture and savoir-faire, its heritage and its identity.” Indeed, the Fête de la Gastronomie is a celebration to honor what the French are known to do best — cook and eat.
“L’amour du geste et des savoir-faire“
This year’s celebration, themed, L’amour du geste et des savoir-faire, is based on the values of sharing and living together in a multicultural society. It honors the richness and diversity of products and kitchens, and the expertise of professionals, enthusiasts, and amateurs who take part in the event.
Chefs, bakers, vintners, confectionery makers and many other artisans in the culinary trade will take their delicacies, recipes, and knife skills to the streets, where the formalities of a dining room are put aside for the open air, and people sample the best gastronomy that France has to offer.
Of course, the Fête de la Gastronomie is not just about the people that prepare good things to eat and drink, it’s also about the farmers, fishermen, millers, and more who sow, reap, harvest, and husband the things that end up in our glasses and on our plates. The suppliers who work hand-in-hand with the great chefs of France.
With over 700 restaurateurs taking part in this year’s festival, there’s certainly something to please the tongue wherever you might be in France or around Paris. Be hungry. Carry a sturdy fork. Go!
Cooking sensations and demonstrations
Cooking demonstrations and other educational experiences are part of the Fête de la Gastronomie fun. Everything that is happening can be found with a little searching via the official site of the Fête de la Gastronomie, but we’ve picked out a few example for today and tomorrow.
In spirit with eating and socializing with neighbors, Les Compagnons du Devoir du Tour de France provides an opportunity to meet with bakers, pastry chefs, and millers (raw material providers) from around Paris who will host workshops and tasting opportunities throughout today at 1 Place Saint Gervais. They invite neighborly participation — everyone brings food and drink — for an on-site picnic banquet in the evening.
Keeping within this year’s theme of multi-cultural mixing, you might be interested in trying some colorful and spicy créole cuisine. On Sunday, the Académie de l’Art Culinaire du Monde Créole is offering cooking demonstrations, free tasting, and sales of good créole food, which, along with musical entertainment, will have you dancing in delight, or on fire. Other cultural faire to explore during the weekend includes Polynesian, Moroccan, Armenian, and more.
For the health-conscious, the Green Market is taking place all weekend at 39 rue de Bretagne in the 3rd arrondissement. Here a merry band of producers and artisans will gather and share their creations: funny and organic heirloom vegetables, edible flowers, herbs, mushrooms ready to grow, special baking flours, and healthy recipes that are easy to prepare. Workshops and direct sales are provided the entire weekend.
And look for the fresh lemonade stand that will be up all weekend at Esplanade Beaubourg. A real thirst-quencher as you run from one place to another.
Unforgettable culinary experiences any time
We’d be amiss to not bring your attention to more personal experiences too, where you can spend private time with chefs, bakers, French hospitality experts and more to learn the secrets of the French way. A few examples…
A conversation with a Michelin-starred chef over wine and delectables
French chef Thomas was born into a world where it was normal to be a gourmet, and the kitchen was his domain from a young age. Through many years and opportunities at noteworthy houses, he eventually met Eric Martins, who offered him the position of Head Chef at L’Arôme, a Michelin-starred restaurant in the 8th arrondissement. It’s there that Thomas earned his first Michelin star at the age of 28!
As a Wonderful Time experience, Thomas invites you for some one-on-one time over wine and delightful samplings. He’ll share with you the concepts of haute cuisine and the techniques of French gastronomy. Trust us, Thomas knows French gastronomy.
Baking the traditional French baguette perfectly
Perhaps you have a penchant for baking and would like to up your game. Consider the classic French baguette or the flakey croissant. These are staples of the French diet — simple in appearance yet so delicious, and you can learn how to make them as the French do.
We offer an experience with French Master Baker, Frédéric, who, at the age of just 26, won the “Meilleur Ouvrier de France” award, making him the youngest French Master Baker in history. He and his business partner have since opened LALOS, a high-end bakery concept with locations in Taiwan, Japan, and Paris. Of course, he’s also written a book, Le Pain, l’envers du décor.
Insights from a Parisian food critic at one of Paris’ best bistros in 2014
We’ve interviewed Pierre-Yves before, and we’ll have more to say on him in the future, but don’t overlook this Wonderful Time experience going behind the scenes in Paris restaurants with a food critic. Pierre-Yves knows every bistro, brasserie, and restaurant in Paris that’s worth talking about, which he does a lot of as a publisher through his annual guides that set the standards for Parisian dining. Meet with Pierre-Yves over an incredible plate and glass at one of Paris’ best bistros in 2014, Caillebotte.
The salacious and seductive French macaron
Or perhaps you have a real sweet tooth?
Ah yes, we see you smiling with guilt. Well, then, you’ll look forward to an experience that’s coming soon, where you can learn the art of the legendary French macaron. Marie Antoinette was know to eat a dozen each day to keep her svelte figure, twelve different delightful colors and flavors. Bliss, no? Mais oui !
These are not the only Wonderful Time offers around French gastronomy. Be sure to see all our food and wine experiences. Our comprehensive, fun, and rewarding experiences can be planned any time of the year. So get out into the Fête de la Gastronomie to whet your appetite now, then book an experience with Wonderful Time for some intense culinary education.
– WT –