You may not be able to make it to Paris or France this year to celebrate but Bastille Day is the perfect excuse to celebrate all things French from the comfort of your own home by hosting a weekday soirée for those in your lockdown ménage – champagne glass in hand and cheese platter just in reach! In honour of France’s national holiday on Tuesday July 14th, here’s our guide on how to create your own Bastille Day celebration at home, to host, toast, pair and say “oui, oui, oui!” to all things French and Bastille.
Fromage, s’il te plait!
Few things say ‘français’ better than a delicious array of French cheeses and presentation is key. We suggest using a beautiful wooden board, adding a whole bunch of grapes, nuts and dried fruits to create a feast that looks as good as it tastes. One of Cape Town’s best kept deli secrets for those looking for French gourmet products is The French Market Grocery Shop in the Gardens Centre. In Joburg, check out Cheese Gourmet in Linden – you’ll find many dozens of cheeses to choose from, as well as a selection of bread, meat, jams and sauces, and an incredible olive bar.
To sip on: only champagne will do, of course. So we’ve curated a selection of our favourites, just for you …
The champagne to sip through Bastille Day and into the night
Moët & Chandon, Nectar Impérial
If you prefer your champagne demi-sec – a bit more rich and fruity – then the voluptuous creamy palate of Nectar Impérial is a great choice. The taste of exotic fruits (pineapple and mango), silky stonefruit (mirabelle, plum and apricot) and fresh grapefruit notes are paired beautifully with combinations of sweet-sour, fat-spicy, sugary-sweet dishes. White meat and poultry, poached or roasted in a creamy sauce, cooked with honey or maple syrup make for a lip-smacking combination. Available from R599 at select retailers
Moët & Chandon Nectar Impérial Rosé
Nectar Impérial Rosé brings its savvy and vibrant style to create a unique night experience. Moët & Chandon presents this cuvée, intense and fruity, perfect for a romantic night in. The balanced palate combines structure, smoothness and freshness, boasting a persisting finale with a fresh note of blood orange. Delicious with fruity desserts, but always remember that rosé is actually one of the most versatile wines in the world. If you seek exotic food pairing suggestions, try mushroom and asparagus dishes, crispy prosciutto and brie cheese; steak; salmon with dill; shrimp, avocado and crispy fish tacos. Available from: R749 at select retailers
A rich rosé expression to enjoy on ice
Veuve Clicquot Rich Rosé
Champagne drinkers can toast Bastille Day in champagne style thanks to Veuve Clicquot Rich Rosé. Created expressly for mixology, Rich Rosé is Veuve Clicquot’s most versatile champagne, designed to allow you to impress and create your own playful drinking experience. Best enjoyed over ice with fresh ingredients, including lime, pineapple, ginger or tea. Available from: R995 at select retailers
The champagne for those who have it all
Dom Pérignon 2008
Each vintage is a creation, singular & unique, which expresses both the character of the year, and the character of Dom Pérignon. After at least eight years of elaboration in the cellars, the wine embodies the perfect balance of Dom Pérignon, the Plénitude of harmony. This champagne enjoys duality: warmth & freshness and meat pairings, cooked & raw. The citrus flavors in the wine make these dishes feel lighter on the palate and the ample bubbles complement the crunchy textures. Spices enhance and accentuate 2008’s effervescence and densify the wine. Dom Pérignon likes playful experiences: culinary art and textures. Available from: R2,249 at select retailers
And for those who love Cognac: we love Hennessy (V.S.)
Hennessy Very Special (V.S) is one of the most popular cognacs in the world. Matured in new oak barrels, Hennessy V.S is bold and fragrant. Hennessy V.S offers toasted and fruit notes, with a rich, clearly defined palate. Easy to enjoy, it’s a perfect cognac for sharing moments in the comfort of your home. The round and robust flavours of Hennessy V.S make it very versatile and ideal for cocktails, from classic recipes and sophisticated cocktail creations to easy mixed after-dinner drinks.
French essential: your iconic Baguette
Throughout France, getting up early and buying a baguette is a way of life. ‘According to the Observatoire du Pain (yes, France has a scientific ‘Bread Observatory’), the French consume 320 baguettes every second – that’s an average of half a baguette per person per day and 10 billion every year. In fact, every April since 1994, a jury of experts has been gathering in Paris for Le Grand Prix de la Baguette: a competition to determine who makes the very best in the city.’ ~ BBC Travel. In Cape Town, there are few better baguette destinations than rockstar boulangerie Jason Bakery and French style retro chic café and bakery Coco Safar. In Jo’burg, be sure to order your selection of breads, pastries and cakes from Patisserie de Paris.
Music to sip away the day to:
Add some classic French tunes on Spotify and sway to Jacques Brel, Yves Montan, Brigitte Bardot and Gainsbourgh as you lay the white tablecloth, bring out the crystal and create the perfect setting for your Bastille Day celebrations.