Bleu, Blanc and Rouge Festival 2016
Have you ever been to the Bleu, Blanc and Rouge Festival? (Blue, White and Red Festival) Well, I now have… I woke up on the morning of Friday the 15th and read a bit more about this festival on a friend’s blog and made the snap decision to drive to Sydney (1 3⁄4 hrs away) and spend the day, or as much as possible, in Sydney. I startled my two teenage sons by whooping about with “get up, quick, get dressed we’re heading to Sydney”. Much groaning ensured, but I was not to be pursauded. If we couldn’t do it that day, we would miss out on the festival for another year due to sport and other commitments for the rest of the weekend. And that was not going to happen!!
I figured we could check out the festival, have some yummy lunch, pick up a couple of French goodies and then share our experience with you, in case you had not been able to get there yourself. We did all of the above, and now share with you what we did and what you can expect next year at this annual festival.
This year the Bleu, Blanc and Rouge Festival was held at Circular Quay in Customs House Square and the greater footpath betweem 14-17 July 2016. The Festival includes the Sydney Bastille Day Party, an open air cinema, French cooking classes, a cabaret show and food markets. A fun way to enjoy the french movies at the open air cinema is to book a ‘mov’n bed’ which is a portable bed with fresh linen and warm blankets so you can lie back and cozily enjoy the movie. Sounds like a treat on a cold winters night. The cooking classes were themed around the Le Tour de France with menu Mont Blanc, menu Pyrenees and menu Saint Michel.
The majority of stalls are food stalls and these are organised into countries or regions; the French village, the European village and the Canadian village. There were quite a lot of stalls and they were quite closely packed together so arriving close to lunch time was probably not the best idea. The festival attracts its own visitors and office workers who were looking for something a little different for their Friday lunch, and so it was very packed and the food queues were long. This actually determined what we chose for lunch – we chose the stall with the shortest queue. We were too hungry and those who know me well, know I do not do queues – ever! (Oh, unless it’s into the Louvre or similar, and then only loudly and grumpily). I know this was a risky manoeuvre as often no queue means no-one likes the product, but our beef bourguignon and rice was fantastic.
I also enjoyed a glass of Normandy cider with my lunch bought at a cider stall. My under-age son (who is taller than me) was offered one also but on checking whether it was alcoholic we opted for him not to have any. Just as well because two policeman walked past us just as I received my drink!
So whether you like French crepes and patisseries, German bratwurst hotdogs, or Canadian Maple Syrup pancakes there will be food for you to enjoy and artisan products to buy and take home. You may prefer soaps from Provence, artworks of Paris, French cooking knifes or German sausages to take home. It is important to take cash with you as most stall owners will not have eftpos facilities.
My favourite stall finds were
- Jeff de Bruges chocolates are prettily packaged and they have a shop at Level 2, Westfield Bondi Junction;
- A Taste of Paris has an online boutique store that ‘introduces French artisan producers with Australian consumers’. I bought a jar of Organic Mustard with black olives with rosemary and olive oil organic mustard and a bag of patiences. Patiences are little french sweet biscuits with matching coloured icing and are usually packaged in pretty combinations. We shared the biscuits on the trip home and I’ve used the mustard in making salad dressings and on ploughman’s sandwiches.
- Smoke & Spice Co sell the most amazingly scented roasted garlics and garlic products at their online store and their garlics smelt incredible on their stall. I wish I could put one of those ‘scratchy’ stickers here so you could smell how wonderful they smelt.
I didn’t attend the Sydney Bastille Day Party this year because I held my own little French Bastille lunch but I’d love to hear whether you went and what you thought of it. Did you go to the Festival? If not, maybe pencil it in your diary for next year. Thanks for reading… see you here again soon… Annette xx