Goût de France: Celebrating gastronomy

Ambassador hosts dinner as part of Good France project.


Our Correspondent March 20, 2015
Ambassador hosts dinner as part of Good France project.

ISLAMABAD: The French ambassador on Thursday hosted a dinner to celebrate “France’s gastronomy” as part of Goût de France or Good France, a worldwide French cuisine celebration initiative.

An exquisitely laid out table engaged each pair of eyes entering the main hall of the ambassador’s residence. As Ambassador Martine Dorance sat at the dinner table, surrounded by her guests, she went over the effort put into putting the table together and etiquette of how to enjoy the food with the right cutlery.

The course began with a batch of cheese gougeres — small buns that once bit into the crisped shell surprise you with cheese filling. The appetiser was followed by duck foie gras and onion compote, richness of the sauce complimenting the meat. The choreographed waiters then presented cream of pumpkin soup with black perigold truffles followed by fish and seafood cassolettel. Just when one thought it was over, a serving of roasted beef tenderloin, black pepper sauce gratin dauphinois, spring vegetables and green salad with herbs and French cheese platter. It wasn’t over till gourmandises parisiennes au chocolat noir desert was served.

The ambassador said that the event was a part of a tradition that began in 1912 when French chef Auguste Escoffier started the Epicurean Diners, served in cities around the world. She said this year Goût de France — Good France, takes the idea further, bringing all categories of restaurants together, worldwide. A total of 1,500 restaurants in 150 countries were paying tribute to the vibrant, open and innovative French cuisine while remaining true to its values of sharing, pleasure, and respect for good food and the planet.

On 21 January this year, Laurent Fabius, French Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development, along with Michelin-starred Chef Alain Ducasse, officially launched the “Goût de France” project. A committee of international chefs, led by Alain Ducasse, selected and unveiled the final list of restaurants participating in the project. They reviewed proposals submitted by restaurants all over the world, which prepared a menu representative of French gastronomy.

Among the finalists, Karachi’s Café Flo offered a menu with a traditional French aperitif, a cold starter, a hot starter, fish or shellfish, meat or poultry, a French cheese, and a chocolate dessert, according to a press statement.

“I want people around the world to know France through its Food,” said the Ambassdor. She said that while being in Pakistan for just six months she enjoys the rich flavours the region has to offer.  She said that French investors have expressed keen interest in investing in Pakistan.

The event will mark the first concrete demonstration of French cuisine being listed in UNESCO’s “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” category, and will highlight its influence on the world.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 21st, 2015.

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