“Cosmetics to make people beautiful, Wine to make them seem even more so and Food to help absorb and refine your senses greatly.” – This was the message from His Excellency Mr. Jérôme Bonnafont, Ambassador of France in India – and was the package that the French were looking to present to India. And what a presentation it was! writes Sommelier India’s Suneeta Sodhi Kanga from Mumbai. Pictured is Doctor Vijay Mallya & H.E. Mr. Jérôme Bonnafont.
In partnership with Maison De La France, Sopexa organized the Apéritif à la Française at the Champagne Ballroom of the brand new Novotel, Juhu Beach, Mumbai, with Sommelier India – The Wine Magazine as media partners.
Mr. Loïc Denneulin, Country Director of Sopexa, told us that this occasion is celebrated globally each year, on the first Thursday of June with this year’s theme being “A Taste of Cinema”. Apéritif à la Française is a platform to relive and rediscover the variety and simplicity of French culinary heritage and fine spirits. It is a deliciously laid-back ritual to celebrate France’s culinary culture that can be as elaborate or as simple as one chooses.
This year Sommelier India had the pleasure of being media partners to this lively red carpet event. Several importers offered a wide selection of food and beverage products from various regions of France. Blasons de Bourgogne, a group of five French vineyards showcased their La Chablisienne and Bailly lapierre wines among others. Val d’Orbieu displayed its range with Cuvee Mythique from the South of France. United Vintner’s Bouvet Rubis Demi sparkling red was an interesting introduction to the Indian palate and the Bouvet Brut Rosé was a favourite amongst the guests.
The FineWinesnMore table was in full splendor. They provided the Canard-Duchêne which was used for the Champagne fountain – It made such a pretty picture! We also got to taste their Georges Duboeuf and Chapoutier wines. The premium rum from the Martinique Rhum Clement had quite a fan following too. Sonarys showcased Domaine Laroche and Munjral Brothers brought their selection of still and sparkling wines from Castel and Champs Elysées.
The Pernod Ricard bar folk were kept busy with the constant demand for their Ricard pastis and Martell Cognacs. The Ricard was refreshing with its anise and liquorice flavour and made one forget the Mumbai heat for a bit!
Schott Zwiesel was the official glassware partner and provided an exquisite range of glasses in which all the wines and champagnes were served.
Added to this was a gourmet spread from La Fromagerie Fresh foods that introduced Mumbai to a platter of different cheeses, including brands such as la Fromagère de la Brie and Isigny Sainte-Mère, coumellier, goat blue cheese and the ubiquitous Camemberts. The gourmet spread also included Wild forest mushrooms, olives, red berries, foie gras, pickled olives, fruit preserves and sauces by Chenab Impex and Le Cordon Blue
Sheetal Wadhwa Munshaw from Maison de la France (with Club Med, Cox & Kings and Kuoni) enlightened us about the wonders of France including its rich gastronomic heritage, exceptional wine tours and its treasure trove of incredible gourmet tourism destinations.
To get a feel of action, the guests could also test drive Mahindra Renault’s Logan car, the official transporter for the evening. Lancôme was making women more beautiful by doing on the spot makeovers. All of this was accompanied by Joe Alvarez’s lively jazz band and honored by the presence of the King of Good Times – Vijay Mallya!
In addition, the Novotel added even more zest with live cooking stations of risottos, crepes, pita pockets, baguettes and other delicacies. The evening which was expected to end at 11 pm carried beyond that as the guests stayed on to enjoy the food, wine, music and also the glorious verandah at the Novotel. Indians seems well on their way to appreciate French cuisine and spirits and may not have to travel to Paris the next time they wish to wet their lips with a delightful Chablis or treat themselves to a melt in your mouth fig and almond crepe!
Pictured above is Suneeta Kanga at the Sommelier India table.