Atmosphère, atmosphère. Est-ce que j’ai une gueule d’atmosphère?
Bonjour, bébé, and come on in. We’re just setting up for tonight’s Bastille Day bash to celebrate the storming of the Bastille and the end of the monarchy in France. While our friends en France take to the Champs-Élysées to watch the military parade, Armée de l’Air show and fireworks display before heading to their local firehouse for a bal de pompier, we’ll make some head rolls with our own style of La Fête Nationale frolicking.
We’ll kick things off at apèro time with kir royales and Monacos, the popular summertime beer drink. We’ll put out some olives and radishes with sea salt and some salty chips and nuts in small dishes.
The French love to grill in summertime so we’ll go with “Le Barbecue” for dinner and cook up some brochettes, which are any kind of meat that can be skewered. Of course, we’ll have a salade verte with vinaigrette dressing (with a touch of Dijon mustard, bien sûr) but we’ll also offer up a traditional Salade Niçoise with haricot vert and a baguette.
In France, there is more of a focus on the salée and less on the sucré so, after dinner, we’ll have some fun with a bleu, blanc and rouge fruit and cheese plate using blueberries, sliced brie and raspberries. Since some of our guests have a sweet tooth, we’ll also serve a simple mousse au chocolat and meringue with fraise.
To create just the right ambiance, we’ll be setting the table with linens from Le Jacquard Francais, which are elegant and très authentique. For la musique, we’re going with some of the more nationalistic crooners like Charles Aznavour, Serge Gainsbourg (the Bonnie & Clyde duet with Brigitte Bardot is the cat’s meow, doll), Claude François, Françoise Hardy, Johnny Hallyday and Jacques Brel.
Lily of the valley and freesia are abundant in France in the summertime, so we’ll add some of those lovely white blooms to our casual outdoor gathering as well.
Voila, mon chouchou! Vive la France and bonne fête.
Introductory photo: Simone Signoret
Introductory quote: Hôtel du Nord (1938)