Apèritif à la Française at the Shangri-La


sopexa2010c.jpgThe night of June 3 saw the seventh edition of Apèritif à la Française, a celebration of the French heritage of food and drink, lifestyle and culture. The theme for this year’s festival was ‘Celebrating Conoisseurship’ and by the spread of quality cheese, chocolate, pastries and wines, it seemed that no expense had been spared to ensure that everyone who attended did indeed celebrate. Harshal Shah has the story.

The Shangri-La, New Delhi hosted the event in conjunction with the French Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries (although there were no French mussels, oysters or shellfish on offer!) and Sopexa, the French agency appointed by the Ministry to promote French agro-product around the world.
sopexa2010b.jpgEverything from a slowly-melting ice sculpture of the Eiffel Tower to a tower of Champagne flutes for a Champagne fountain, Apèritif was a splendid, lavish event. Hats off to wine importers Munjral Brothers and Aspri Spirits for getting their French winery principals to contribute towards the cost of a stand at the fair. The wines on offer were way above what we expected. Highlights included Olivier Leflaive’s Chablis, Champagne Lombard & Cie., and Château de Fontenille from Bordeaux. It is a pity that some of the bigger importers didn’t grab this opportunity to showcase their wines to the wine-drinking public.
sopexa2010.jpgIt was also great to see so many members of the F+B industry and press present. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until 2012 for the next Apèritif à la Française by Sopexa. It will be held in Mumbai next year. That shouldn’t stop you from having your own mini-celebration as often as possible. The ‘apèritif’ (casually called ‘apero’) is an inherent part of French culture and is all about getting together informally with friends and enjoying a few drinks and food together. Apparently 90% of the French have an apero at least once a week. I wonder if this practice will catch on in India!

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