Earlier this month, French Consul General Mr Yves Perrin and his lovely wife, Caroline, held a reception at their Mumbai residence to flag off Goût de France. The food festival received exceptional response last year, and there’s a lot to look forward to this time around.
Goût de France (Good France) is a showcase of the best of French cuisine, organised by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development. The menu is part of the UNESCO Intangible Heritage List and will be served in several cities of the world on the same day—21st March, 2017. Goût de France also highlights the joie de vivre (joy of living) associated with France, promoting it as a tourist destination while honouring its gastronomical heritage.
As 65 restaurants across India prepare to host Goût de France with a French-style menu tomorrow, we catch up with Mrs Perrin to learn more about the event.
IB: What, according to you, is the most appealing aspect of the French food festival?
It depends on individual taste. It is the variety of dishes that makes French cuisine attractive. The diversity in the quality of our soil is also to be taken into consideration. What differentiates, in my opinion, the French cuisine from the rest is also all its varied accompaniments—a well laid out table surrounded with friendly guests, excellent wine, some tasteful cheese platters. All this has to be looked at holistically to characterise the French art of living.
IB: French food is perceived as being very intricate and complicated (in its preparation). Your thoughts?
French cuisine is not so complicated and it is often the simplest dishes that are the best!
IB: What’s your take on French food available in India? Which restaurants in India have served you the best French food?
Except the beef that cannot be consumed here, other meats are available in the market. The lamb is excellent as well as the chicken, and there are several recipes for cooking these dishes (for example the lamb navarin which was served on March 9 at the residence of France). In fact, all the vegetables required to dish out French cuisine are available in most markets in Bombay. As for the best restaurant serving French cuisine—there are some very good restaurants that offer excellent meals with a ‘French’ touch.
IB: You’ve lived in Mumbai for some time now. Which local dishes have you enjoyed most?
I do not have any favourite dishes as such. I love the shrimps and lobsters that I really enjoyed in Goa. I always try to find dishes that are not too spicy because my poor western palette, despite all my efforts, cannot yet bear spice!
IB: Goût de France encourages its participating restaurants to prepare French cuisine with a hint of their local culture. Do you think Indian cuisine can mix and match with French delicacies?
Indian and French cuisine can be fused easily. Spices are the link between the two cuisines and are more and more often used by French chefs, who recreate the traditional French dishes by mixing Indian flavours.
IB: The festival also aims to promote France as a tourist destination. Tell us more.
I want Indians to have as much pleasure in discovering France as I had discovering India, especially Bombay!