Last year saw the first Goût de France, a multicountry event in celebration of French gastronomy orchestrated by superchef Alain Ducasse, in collaboration with the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It was such a success that this year it is being reprised on March 21, with feasts held simultaneously across 150 countries, with around 1,800 chefs saluting the glory of French cuisine, its capacity for innovation and its values.
Monsieur Ducasse (pictured) says he was inspired to create this event by “the Master” Auguste Escoffier’s “Dîners d’Epicure” (Epicurean Dinners), which, in 1912, presented the same menu on the same day in several cities round the world. “The common point of this event is generosity, sharing and conviviality coupled with a love of what is beautiful and tastes good,” says Ducasse.
Participating chefs, not only from top restaurants but little neighbourhood bistros worldwide, from Antigua to Zambia, will plan a French-style menu – beginning with a traditional apéritif/cocktail (such as Ricard, St Germain Delice de Sureau or Dubonnet), a starter, fish or shellfish, meat or poultry, and seasonal French cheeses and desserts, each accompanied by French wines and digestifs (such as cognac, calvados or cointreau) – which can be interpreted through the prism of their own local culinary traditions and cultures.
The menu price is at the restaurant’s discretion and they all donate 5 per cent of proceeds to a local NGO promoting health and the environment.
In London, participating chefs and restaurants include Alexandre Nicolas at Rivea, Walter Ishizuka’s Brasserie Joël, Michael Carter’s Boundary Restaurant and, beyond the capital, the most English of Frenchmen Raymond Blanc’s Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons.
Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester is not open on Mondays, so is shifting its event to Tuesday March 22 for a luscious seven-course menu (£260) created by executive chef Jean-Philippe Blondet, with wine pairings chosen by Christopher Bothwell, the Dorchester’s head sommelier.
Tucking into the flavours of France, the starters are frogs legs with sorrel sauce and duck foie-gras confit cut with astringent artichoke – paired with Blanc de Blancs Delamotte 2007. Next, asparagus velouté, crayfish and caviar are paired with 2013 Sancerre Cuvée Jadis from H Bourgeois. With the seared hand-dived sea scallop, brocoletti, diners can sip Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Château Mont-Redon. Classic Turbot à la Grenobloise (butter and parsley sauce, with capers and lemon) and Swiss chard is followed by hearty veal medallions with heritage carrots. A 2013 Comté cru cheese comes with the elegant and flowery 2004 Haut-Medoc Château La Lagune.
Dessert, made with chocolate from La Manufacture de Chocolat Alain Ducasse, Paris, marries well with a flute of non-vintage Alain Ducasse champagne or 2013 Maury Mas Mudiglizia.
“Goût de France also celebrates French cuisine’s listing in the ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’ category by Unesco. This is our invitation to the world to take part in an unforgettable culinary journey,” says Ducasse.