Experience the Best of France in a Weekend

After a successful first run last year, the second annual “Taste of France” event was hosted in Bryant Park.  Over 100,000 visitors were expected to show, so the larger exhibition area was an excellent choice.  I visited Bryant Park around 11:30AM on Saturday, September 28th thinking I’d be early, but by the time I arrived, the event was already well underway!

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The tri-color hot air balloon was up and ready!

Many exhibitors from major French businesses and local Franco-American NYC organizations participated in this year’s big event such as L’OREAL (including the beauty brands they own), D’Artagnan, Canele by Celine, Georges DuBeouf wines, Maille, La Maison du French Bulldog, Palais des Thés, and FIAF (French Institute Alliance Française). At the “Taste of France,” special currency called “Mariannes” were available for purchase in place of dollars. It was a great idea but actually a hassle to keep exchanging money for fake bills, because you couldn’t really tell how much of it you’d need initially and then when you run out, lining up and waiting to buy them again only to be told you need to wait longer since they ran out is a drag.

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My favorite booths were La Maison du French Bulldog (because I’m a huge fan of them, and hope to own one in the near future),Canelé by Céline (those bite-sized treats were ready to be eaten), the wine and liquor tasting area, and the Southwest and Southeast areas for the best of French cuisine and wines (in my opinion). 

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This little French bulldog in a chef’s uniform stole my heart!

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And yes, the truffle canelés were there along with the sweet varieties!

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"The Green Beast," a Pernod Absinthe cocktail - refreshing & neat; no "silly green fairy" to be seen here!

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Bouillabaisse by the culinary team at the Intercontinental New York Barclay Hotel

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First time trying fine mustard “on tap” from Maille! It was served on mini toasts with the fresh Chablis Dijon mustard (imported just for this event - it’s usually only sold in the Maille boutiques in Paris and Dijon) or the Honey Mustard with Balsamic Vinegar (from Italy) of Modena. This special pump dispenser in the photo above is a type of tool used to serve French royalty back in the day. I wish the freshly dispensed mustard was available to us here in the US, but at least we’ll have the Honey Mustard with Balsamic Vinegar product next April 2014!

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Rhone Valley Rosé wine by Jean-Luc Colombo

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The “Taste of France” was an adventurous and sublime, sensorial experience.  Like a quick trip to the French countryside to frolic in lavender fields, great chateaux for wine tasting and back to the city for luxe indulgences, it was such a tease(!) but more of an alluring one.

Oh, the French — they make you fall in love with them and all their lovely things!

For more event photos, view the entire set on my Flickr: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjK4NGW6