Last Friday, Alfred Street of Circular Quay was transformed into a French market for this year’s BBR (Bleu Blanc Rouge) French World Festival. A mixture of French and English could be heard throughout the numerous pastry and wine stalls. Despite the skies threatening to open, the festival was thriving with beret-wearing proprietors offering their products to the many Francophiles passing by. The last day of the festival coincided with Bastille Day, the 14th of July, France’s national day.
Among the market stalls was the Chef Up Culinary Studio’s cooking masterclass tent. Interested in learning more about French cuisine, I attended a class run by Xavier Jasseron. Initially, plans to make a traditional French tarte tatin with a savoury twist were thwarted by an oven that refused to work. Thankfully, this obstacle was no problem to the talented Chef Up team. Instead of a planned recipe, Xavier and Mathieu worked to create a whole new recipe on the spot for us to learn. The result was a quick, easy and delicious entrée made with traditional French escargots (snails) and chèvre (goat’s cheese). When preparing this dish it’s important to not follow the recipe exactly but to experiment and cook to taste. After all, this recipe was born out of improvisation and was only written in the chefs’ mind.
- Half an onion, diced
- A handful of chives, thinly sliced
- 4 snails, diced
- 1 tsp butter
- 1/2 clove garlic, diced
- A splash of creme fresh
- Salt and pepper to season
- Chives, thinly sliced
- Goat's cheese
- 1 cherry tomato, quartered
- Heat butter in a pan until fully melted and add onion and garlic. Cook until onions are golden brown before seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Add snails and and creme fresh to pan and cook for a few minutes. Add chives before taking mixture off heat.
- Serve in a small bowl topped with goat's cheese, cherry tomato and chives.
After making our delicious entrée, we were treated to some authentic pâté de foie gras. Traditionally served at special occasions such as Christmas, foie gras is made from the liver of corn-fed ducks or geese. The saltiness of the foie gras was accompanied beautifully with the caramelised onions. Spread on amazingly fresh bread, the pâté was smooth and creamy, just how it should be.
After trying such amazing French cuisine, I toured the rest of the festival tents. I was welcomed by bright colored pastries, the smell of French sausage cooking and beautiful French-themed art. It’s no wonder that BBR choose to celebrate the French World every year. Although the festival is over for this year, be sure to visit when Bastille Day comes around next year for a truly French experience.
The third edition of the BBR Festival was held on 10th-12th July 2015, at Sydney Customs House. It was a “rendez-vous” of the French speaking world, bringing together 4 of the biggest French speaking countries in the world, Belgium, Canada, France and Switzerland. For more information, go to bbrfestival.com.au.