In an exhibition that went above and beyond the stereotypes of France, Taste of France took over Bryant Park this weekend with the best of French food, wine, tourism, and beauty. Taste of France’s second year in New York was full of fascinating booths from some of the country’s most popular companies and vendors.
This year’s event was a foodie’s paradise, with fine French cuisine prepared and served by the International Culinary Center. As attendees perused the exhibition’s many booths, they enjoyed delectable regional dishes. Particularly popular were the short ribs with potatoes au gratin and the succulent chicken with morel sauce.
For dessert or an irresistible snack, everyone with a sweet tooth was tempted by the tantalizing selection of chocolates and macarons. New York favorite Financier Patisserie drew a consistent crowd with their offering of gourmet baked goods. Macaron Café had an impressively colorful display; many patrons picked up boxes of 6 of these adorable macarons. With exciting flavors like nutella, lilac, rose lychee, and peanut butter and jelly, it’s no wonder this booth was so popular.
One of the more unique booths this year was that of Maille, the award-winning French company responsible for putting Dijon mustard on the map in the US. At this year’s Taste of France, Maille served samples of their delicious Chablis Mustard on tap on mini-slices of Amy’s Bread. This mustard was spicy, delicious, and so much more than the hot dog condiment it is often relegated to here in the States.
On the beverage front, premium wine and spirits corporation Pernod-Ricard served their eponymous anise-flavored spirits in a ticketed area of the event. The Ricard was served plain or mixed with almond of grenadine. On the upper level of Bryant Park, the wine tasting took place with some of New York's top sommeliers serving wine from regions all over Frances. In attendance were Michael Couvreux of Per Se, Bernard Sun of Jean-Georges, and Raj Vaidya of Daniel, among many other top sommeliers.
Taste of France brought a lot of visual interest to Bryant Park, with its enormous hot air balloon as the centerpiece in the middle of the park, and cooking demonstrations at the stage in the front. Perhaps the most amusing display belonged to Président, the popular cheese and butter brand, who had two sculptors crafting an Eiffel Tower out of President butter inside a giant bubble.
Overall, Taste of France did a fine job of representing the multifaceted beauty and culture of France. Many, if not most, of the attendees were French, and there were plenty of engaging activities and booths for French nationals and Francophiles alike.