Beaujolais & Beyond Wine Festival
© The Flash List | 2011
The 28th Annual Beaujolais & Beyond Wine Festival was oh so groovy, baby!
Hosted by the French American Chamber of Commerce Dallas / Fort Worth, this year’s event featured a variety of gourmet food, as well as French and domestic wines, along with a 1960’s theme complete with retro fashionable models, performances by go-go dancers, and an Austin Powers look-alike contest.
The FACC, originally founded in 1896, is a private, non-profit, commercial service organization, dedicated to the promotion of trade and investment between French and American business communities. The Dallas chapter, created in 1979, offers international services, programs, and events for members including the largest annual Beaujolais Wine Festival in the United States.
Held just one day after "Beaujolais Nouveau Day" (the third Thursday of November), the festival brought together a selection of wines from French regions such as Beaujolais (which offers the purple-pink wine made from Gamay grapes which is bottled just weeks after harvest and is intended for immediate drinking, not storing) along with wonderful selections from areas such as Bordeaux, Burgundy, and the Rhône Valley, as well as American wines from Texas, California, and Oregon.
Participating food sponsors offered table after table of gourmet food such as Valrhona chocolate brownies (Le Cordon Bleu), artisan French chocolates (Delice Chocolatier Selection), Monty Python English pale ale (beers offered by Artisanal Beverage Company), deliciously tender barbeque beef sandwiches (Eddie Dean), crab ceviche (Sambuca Uptown), baguettes (provided by la Madeleine for the charcuterie and cheese displays), liquid hardboiled eggs eaten with a spoon from an open topped egg shell (Chef Edouard Barvaste, owner of France on Your Plate), and much more by restaurants and vendors like Dakota's Steakhouse, Mozzarella Company, Scardello Artisan Cheese, Lavendou Bistro Provençal, and more.
And so that patrons could enjoy their food without having to juggle plates and glasses, plenty of intimate seating areas were provided (some in café type settings) with romantic candlelit tables draped in white cloth in this relaxed but upscale environment.
Event goers spent the evening tasting new foods, sampling wines, chatting with Miss Texas, drooling over vintage automobiles, and perusing through the premium packages up for bid at the silent auction tables such as framed sports memorabilia, goodie baskets from Shiner Bock Beer and Stone Brewing Company, a cookbook written by Paula Lambert of Mozzarella Company, dining gift certificates, and items from Rail Europe, United Airlines, etc.
As the evening grew late after all were well fed (and representatives from Henry’s Homemade Ice Cream had run out of cups and cones, but were still dishing up bites of their pumpkin and cinnamon flavors by the spoonful to a long line of eager tasters), the dancing continued to ‘60’s inspired music spun by DJ Jeff Hickok. And well after the official ‘end’ time of the party, revelers were still lingering on the posh third floor balcony of the brand new Omni Hotel which overlooks the beautiful downtown Dallas skyline.
Although our list of favorite dishes is not comprehensive by any means due to our … well, … just having so much fun meeting guests and talking to sponsors at this party, we can tell you that some of our favorite samples included the Mommessin Beaujolais Nouveau (ideal for Thanksgiving), braised beef in Merlot sauce served with mousseline potatoes (Cadot Restaurant), the lick-your-lips chocolate sauce topped chocolate cake from Bonnie Ruth's Café, and .. oh, my …the Rene Leclerc Gevrey-Chambertin 100% pinot noir.
We also enjoyed the Arbor Crest Merlot from Washington's Four Vineyards (which currently retails at Goody Goody for under $15.00 a bottle) and the beautifully rich Hobgoblin beer, a smooth English brown ale with flavors from chocolate & crystal malts and wonderfully balanced hops which is distributed here in the United States by Artisanal Beverage Company and can be purchased at Whole Foods, Central Market, and some Goody Goody stores.
For More Information
Keep an eye out for information from the French American Chamber of Commerce Dallas / Fort Worth, and definitely make plans to attend next year’s Beaujolais & Beyond Wine Festival - at this point in time, a 1970's theme is in the planning!