Popular Port Melbourne eatery The House of Wine and Food will say bonjour, bon soir and bon appetit as it celebrates – and serves up – all
things French during its inaugural Bastille Festival in July.
Timed to coincide with the French national day, Bastille Day, on July 14, the festival runs from July 12 to 16 and celebrates a time in French history that revolutionised the way the French from all walks of life came to access and appreciate good food.
“While a sociologist or historian may focus on the nobler outcomes of the French Revolution, I like to think it is well worth celebrating the great gastronomic outcomes, and that is what we will be doing during our Bastille week,” The House of Wine and Food owner Alan Giles said. At the time of the Revolution, goods that entered Paris were subject to numerous taxes, including those on wine and food, particularly grain, he said. “The cost of wine and bread was at least triple what it should have reasonably been. It had been a harsh winter, people were unhappy, and wine and bread was almost beyond their reach.” The Revolution changed all that.
"Many things changed in France because of the Revolution, but from a perspective of food and wine lovers it was all benefit. Many of the talented chefs that had worked in aristocratic households eventually started their own restaurants and these new eating houses were the birthplaces of much of the great cuisine that has existed since that time.”
The House of Wine and Food Bastille Festival features an array of French-themed activities including: a Parisian High Tea with pastries from Agathe Patisserie, South Melbourne Market; Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 2pm to 4pm. The $55 cost includes a glass of champagne. Cheese appreciation and tastings featuring cheeses from across France - Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 6pm to 7:30pm – tastings cost $25, but the fee will be waived if patrons stay to dine. And food specials and wine tastings including:
Wednesday July 12: Lunch and Dinner specials will celebrate the Champagne regions of France and the Loire Valley, with Champagne and wine tasting from the Loire Valley.
Thursday July 13: Lunch and Dinner specials will celebrate the Beaujolais region and mussel dishes to accompany a beer tasting of France’s national beer, Kronenbourg and Beaujolais wine tasting featuring the Crus of Beaujolais.
Friday July 14: Lunch and Dinner set-menu special to celebrate Bastille Day, costs $80 per person for three courses. The dinner wine-tasting from 6pm to 7:30pm will journey through some of France’s famous vineyards from Burgundy Bordeaux and Sauternes and will be co-hosted by Alan Giles and winemaker David Lloyd from Victoria’s Eldridge Estate (Mornington Peninsula).
Saturday July 15: Dinner will celebrate food from the Alsace region with wine tasting from this fabulous region of France from 6pm to 7:30pm. Sunday July 16: Lunch and Dinner specials will celebrate food from Provence, including The House of Wine and Food’s famous seafood bouillabaisse and a Provence wine tasting.
The restaurant’s main menu will be available throughout the week along with a daily special from one of the French regions. Wine tastings will be held between 6pm and 7:30pm Wednesday to Sunday in the front bar and will feature a brief presentation on each of four or five wines. The tasting costs $25, but the fee will be waived if patrons stay to dine.
The House of Wine and Food is open Wednesday to Sunday from noon until late. It is closed for lunch on Saturdays, except by arrangement. For bookings call (03) 9676 2004 and for additional information on Bastille Festival events see:
@thehouseofwineandfood on Instagram
@Houseofwineandfood on Facebook