Over a century on from Auguste Escoffier’s Les Dîners d’Épicure, a date when thousands around the world sat down to eat one synchronised meal, Goût de France – or Good France – is reviving this celebration of French cuisine and more than a thousand chefs across five continents are joining in.
Led by the famous Alain Ducasse and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Development Laurent Fabius, the event hopes to bring to attention the contemporary flair of good French cooking and also promote the excellence of its ingredients and techniques.
“France’s heritage is its cuisine, its wines… The ‘gastronomic meal’ of the French has been on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 2010, but it is a heritage that should not simply be contemplated, glorified and savoured; it is a heritage that should be built upon and showcased,” says Fabius.
French cuisine recent listing is a testimony to the influence Gallic gastronomy has had on the world stage and tonight’s event will mark the first ‘concrete demonstration’ of the importance of the culinary art.
Passionate culinary maestro Ducasse adds, “French cuisine is the interpreter of a cuisine that has evolved towards lightness in harmony with its environment… The common point of this event is generosity, sharing and the love of what is beautiful and tastes good. It will be a delightful interlude and an opportunity to celebrate French cuisine worldwide.”
The rules are quite straight-forward. Every participating chef and restaurant will put together a time-honoured French-style menu in their restaurant, including a with a traditional French aperitif, a cold starter, a hot starter, a fish or shellfish dish, a meat or poultry course, a French cheese (or cheeseboard), and a chocolate dessert.
While I will be trying to recreate something like this at home tonight (especially the cheeseboard), you can also dine out at any number of the restaurants in the Riviera that are taking part. From bistros and corner cafés to haute cuisine locations and Michelin-star restaurants, there’s a whole host of addresses getting in on the cultural action.
Where to eat à la français tonight
Au Petit Gari (bistro): 2 place Garibaldi, Nice
Bistro Terrasse (bistro): Hotel Juana, Juan les Pins
Elsa (haute cuisine): Avenue Princesse Grace, Monaco
L’Amandier de Mougins (modern cuisine): 48 avenue Jean Charles Mallet, Mougins
La Passagère (haute cuisine): Hotel Belles Rives, Juan les Pins
La Chèvre d’Or (haute cuisine): Rue du Barri, Eze
Le Figuier de Saint Esprit (haute cuisine): 14 rue du Saint-Esprit, Antibes
Mantel (haute cuisine): 22 rue Saint Antoine, Cannes
Moulin de Mougins (haute cuisine): 1028 avenue Notre Dame de Vie, Mougins
One of my favourite menus that I’ve seen in the region is (and no I’m not biased) is Elsa in Monaco, which will be offering a mouth-watering menu of organic sama with fresh vegetables and herbs from the restaurant’s garden, a light petits pois velouté with floral garnish and perilla, rôti red mullet with a broad bean purée, a rack of lamb with Acacia honey and roasted potatoes, with a selection of cheeses from the tray and fruit bread, and a signature ‘Elsa’ almond soufflé and La Tierra espresso to finish. Sublime!