Yesterday we set off for the inaugural French Festival at Southbank. The actual location at Southbank was almost a secret but we persevered and found it close to the Performing Arts Centre. I had looked earlier on the festival’s website but where exactly at Southbank was a mystery.
I am sure more people attended than the organisers ever thought would as the aisles they created became so packed it was difficult to see everything on offer. The various food stalls had queues so long that it hindered the crowds trying to walk down the avenues. I am sure next time they will create wider pathways. What a great success though and it seems Brisbane is loving everything French as we do.
I found a man who specialises in truffles, his business is wisely named The Truffle Man and I noticed he was selling Tonka beans – they were confiscated from me last time I passed through Australian Customs. He has them and I am sure I paid much less for his than I did in the speciality store in Paris. Tonka beans are grated much like nutmeg into dishes and have a distinctive flavour.
There was a cordoned off area selling alcohol and you had to show your ID’s to get in. Sadly no longer are we asked for IDs to prove our age. Belle Epoque the restaurant at the Emporium shopping Centre in Fortitude Valley had a tent here with wine, champagne and on the food side, the Executive chef Trent Dalton was serving oysters and Beef Bourguignon but by the time we got there sold out of oysters, clearly not expecting the resounding attendance.
What a wonderful weather day, you can see the brilliant blue sky and it is winter here in Queensland.
There were people selling French language lessons in Brisbane – cannot give you a website, only a phone number Lingua Franca 07 3161 6392. And then the company Pierres au Solleil who sell properties in the south of France and an enterprising person who is renting her single house in France had brochures to hand out in a tent selling some French crockery. I also picked up a brochure for rentals in Calvisson a town between Nimes and Montpelier.
My old friend Christian Blondeau was there of course, he is the owner of France at Leisure, the only place to go in Brisbane if you want someone to do all the work – booking accommodation, travel, restaurants etc in France. Christian came to Australia after meeting an Australian woman he married. His former profession was Sommelier, so he is the man to find you all the right places to find the best food and wine over there. I am off to France in August so I felt my holiday had already begun. A bientot, Roz