Goût de France meals in NZ highlight French food culture [fr]
Goût de France, an international celebration of French cuisine began in New Zealand restaurants and the French Residence on March 21. Wellington secondary school students were among those to get a taste of French gastronomic culture.
A network of French embassies and more than 2000 restaurants, including New Zealand restaurants Kazuya, Hippopotamus, Jano Bistro and Hopgoods around the world took part in the event.
Ambassador Florence Jeanblanc-Risler welcomed 24 students with interests in French language, culture and cooking from high schools around Wellington to the French Residence.
"It is impressive to see so many young talented students so interested by our French language, the French language, our culture, the French culture, and also French gastronomy," the Ambassador said.
Between courses, the Ambassador explained the history, vocabulary and techniques behind the dishes, including the special tool used to prepare oeuf toqué, how the ballotine of poached New Zealand terakihi was rolled and poached, the origin of garniture Matignon (which shares a name with the official residence of the French Prime Minister), and traditions around the serving of cheeses before dessert.
At the end of the meal, French Residence chef Fabien Le Gall explained how he trained as a chef to the students, including some with plans to become chefs themselves.
To end the evening, the students took part in a quiz to test their knowledge of French cuisine. Here are some of the curious culinary questions they tackled.
What is a French gastronomic meal?
In 2010, the ’gastronomic meal of the French’ was inscribed in UNESCO’s List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Important elements include the careful selection of dishes from a constantly growing repertoire of recipes; the purchase of good, preferably local products whose flavours go well together; the pairing of food with wine; the setting of a beautiful table; the strucutre of the meal into at least four courses; and specific actions during consumption, such as smelling and tasting items at the table.
About Goût de France
This event, orchestrated by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development and chef Alain Ducasse, is inspired by Auguste Escoffier, who launched the “Dîners d’Épicure” (Epicurean Dinners) initiative in 1912: the same menu, on the same day, in several world cities, for as many guests as possible.
Chefs from all over the world will cook a dinner to pay tribute to the excellence of French cuisine and its capacity to innovate and unite people around the common values of sharing and enjoyment in a planet-friendly and healthy way.
The aim is to showcase the French lifestyle, regional products and, more broadly, to promote France as a tourist destination worldwide. A third of tourists have said they visit France to enjoy its cuisine.