I'm a freelance writer, blogger and animal wrangler living in Brisbane's western suburbs. I love to eat, drink, travel, explore ... and then write about my adventures.
Published June 29th 2014
Because everything begins with bonjour
5 Ways to Celebrate Bastille Day in Brisbane
A toast to celebrate all things French. Image courtesy Brisbane French Festival.
Representing freedom, equality and fraternity, Bastille Day on 14 July is one of the most important celebrations on the French calendar. The 'Bastille' was a Parisian prison considered to be a symbol of the King's absolute power. It was captured by members of a disaffected population on 14 July 1789 in an event which signalled the beginning of the French Revolution.
While France marks this day on the calendar with a national holiday, there is no such luck for Brisbanites. However, Bastille Day has nonetheless taken this city by storm. Following are five of the best ways to get in touch with your inner Francophile.
A little slice of home. Image courtesy Brisbane French Festival.
Visit the Brisbane French Festival
Some finishing touches for fresh produce. Image courtesy Brisbane French Festival.
From escargot to Camembert to fresh baguettes to macarons, it's hard to beat the Brisbane French Festival 2014 for a taste of Bastille Day. Taking place at South Bank Parklands over two sparkling days (Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 July), the Brisbane French Festival 2014 will feature more than 80 exhibitors showcasing French food, wine and entertainment options (Can-can dancing, anyone?). Exhibitors focussing on travel options for those who want to follow in the footsteps of A Year in Provence author Peter Mayle will play a part too.
There will also be some great learning opportunities available at this year's Brisbane French Festival. Fashion parades will seek to demystify the secrets of French style, cooking demonstrations will enlighten home chefs and a pavilion devoted entirely to French wine will reveal how wines are made and the varieties of grapes within each region. Cheers!
When: Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 July 2014 Where: South Bank Parklands Cost: $5 for adults; free entry for children
Dine at The Emporium Hotel
The upmarket Emporium Hotel will celebrate Bastille Day in style. Image courtesy Emporium Hotel.
Brisbane's Emporium Hotel is preparing to pop the cork on a revolutionary five-course Canard-Duchene Champagne dinner on the evening of 14 July. Executive Chef Scott Andrews has created a mouth-watering five-course meal comprising such delights as freshly-shucked oysters, caviar-topped blini, beef cheek roulade and strawberry and ricotta canoli - with all courses paired with Canard-Duchene champagnes.
Peter Savoff, General Manager of the Emporium Hotel, says the story behind what is one of the most prominent Houses or Grandes Marques in Champagne, France, began in 1860 when a barrel-maker (Victor Canard) met a winemaker (Léonie Duchêne). 'They fell madly in love and married,' he explains. 'Sharing a passion for wine, they worked collaboratively to produce their own unique Champagne (which became) Canard-Duchêne.'
When: Monday 14 July 2014, 7pm Where: Arrival champagne at Belle Époque Patisserie, followed by sit down dinner at Emporium Hotel Cost: $195 per person Bookings: 07 3253 6914
Brush up your French language skills
Build on your high school language lessons. Image courtesy Alliance Francaise de Brisbane.
Parlez-vous Francais? One of the most effective ways of getting to know a culture is through its language and French is one of the most beautiful-sounding of them all. Alliance Francaise de Brisbane offers a range of classes for adults and children at all levels, and its language learning programs are complemented by a range of opportunities to learn more about French culture - with concerts, performances and other activities throughout the year.
Alliance Francaise de Brisbane also holds a new exhibition every couple of months. Currently, an exhibition of photographs entitled Memories of Vignacourt is showing, inspired by a small village in France where many Australian soldiers spent time resting and recovering on their way to and from the battlefields of the Somme during World War 1.
When: Year round Where: 262 Montague Road, West End Bookings: 07 3844 4460
Discover the secrets of classic French cooking
Taking place on 16 July 2014, it misses Bastille Day by a whisker. However, the sentiment behind the Wine Workshop with Normandy chicken in a brandy and mushroom sauce class at the The Golden Pig's Food and Wine School remains the same. In addition to tasting a selection of wines, attendees will have the opportunity to watch the preparation and plating up of a regional French dish - chicken cooked with brandy, apple, mushrooms and cream served with rice and salad in what's described as 'a short, sharp and punchy 2 hour class'. Longer French bistro and French decadence cooking are also held at The Golden Pig - visit the calendar for further details.
Forget Bastille Day just for a moment - this delightful French confection can be enjoyed year-round thanks to Monsieur Macaron. Created in 2008, Monsieur Macaron was the first producer of handmade macarons in Australia, with all of them baked fresh daily following a traditional French recipe. They come in a kaleidoscope of colours and flavours - including bubble gum rainbow, caramel salted, chocolate, lavender passionfruit, pistachio, raspberry and rose petal (and that's just for starters).
Because Monsieur Macaron also makes a range of other baked goods, including brioche, creme brulee, cupcakes, eclairs, quiches and tartlets, there really is something for everyone - even those who lack a sweet tooth (poor you)!
When: Monday to Friday 8am to 3pm (also taking part in the Brisbane French Festival) Where: Unit 2/1 Medway Street, Rocklea Contact: 07 3255 8447