Friday, December 2, 2011

Paris to Provence

France Arrives in Melbourne

Como House, Corner Williams Road and Lechlade Ave, South Yarra, VIC, 3141

November 25 to 27, 2011

$15 Adults, kids up to 17 years free

From Friday to Sunday last week, the iconic Como House underwent a startling transformation. The manicured green lawns were peppered with stalls and the property’s rather bland former café – despite its location – became a gourmet pop up restaurant. Why? It was time for the annual Paris to Provence French Festival.

Apart from a marvellous showcase of all things French, the festival finally provided South Yarra residents with an excuse to act as if they are sophisticated Frogs. But the event attracted more than the locals. Nor was the crowd (10,000 strong last year) limited to francophiles.

People from all over Melbourne flocked to the event over the three days, but even more so on Sunday due to the unfavourable (read: worst imaginable) weather conditions the previous day. Many stallholders suffered damage goods due to the stormy weather, but it was smiles all round the next day. C'est la vie.

The temporary French village hosted over 70 stalls offering caviar and champagne to can-can dancers and celebrity chefs. Cooking demonstrations from Philippe Mouchel (PM24), Pierrick Boyer (Le Petit Gateau), Jerome Tremoulet (Hotel Windsor) and Sandra Bernard (Chateau Cusine) had foodies drooling.

Presentations on chocolate, wine, French property, culture and more enlightened all who attended. Quirky events such as the Canidae French Bulldog Costume Contest stole the attention of animal lovers, while the 2.5 tonne Dutch Street Organ was the perfect background to costumed stilt walkers, a roaming magician and even a mime artist. For the kids, there was face painting and an animal farm… not to mention countless sweet treats.

From a cocktail soirée with canapés and a French high tea on the terrace, to jewellery, fashion and homeware stalls, there was something for everyone regardless of budget. The astute completed their Christmas shopping early, while the rest pigged out on macarons (no, not macaroons, imbécile!) and lined up for crêpes.

Melbourne’s best French patisseries made an appearance in order to complement the top grade coffee on offer. La boulangerie, la charcuterie, la confiserie, la fromagerie—it was all there. There was even a stall selling soap good enough to eat… in the shape of realistic cakes.

Rather than trudge through the whole event, the rest of this post will walk you through Paris to Provence in pictures. If you missed getting Frenchified, fear not. Paris to Provence will return next year. But it’s ‘à bientôt’ until then.

1 comment:

  1. Great article Fi, Australian people have a funny image of what France is, especially for the cakes (they look like dolls cake!!!) but the rest is very well represented!!