The fifth annual Balade en France, one of the biggest French cuisine and wine festivals in Vietnam, on October 24 kicked off at Ho Chi Minh City’s Hotel Equatorial in District 5.
A representative of the festival’s organizers, Gregoire Debre, Southeast Asia and Taiwan regional manager of Sopexa, the French agency for the international marketing of food, wine and lifestyle, told Tuoi Tre News that the event attracted around a thousand diners on the first day and is expected to welcome another thousand today, the last day of this year’s event.
Debre said the aim of the festival is to develop people’s knowledge about French food through good food and wine.
Balade en France 2014 is jointly held by Sopexa, the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Vietnam and the Hotel Equatorial, with support from the French Consulate in HCMC and the French Ministry of Agriculture.
This year’s event features more than 30 dishes and beverages, including Annam Gourmet Raclette, couscous, pastries, oysters, crepe, fish fillet and ratatouille, Nicoise salad, cider, mojitos and more.
French products such as chocolate, jam, cheese and pâté are featured at separate booths on the sideline of the main event so that visitors can taste and buy them there.
Debre added that the main message of this year’s event is to break the image that French food is complicated by serving home cooked, casual food.
“Many people think French food is very complicated,” he said. “The message of the fest is to show that French food is easy and for everybody. They can be enjoyed every day, for fun, with family and friends.”
One of the obvious differences between the 2014 Balade en France and last year’s edition is the change in the ticket concept.
“We reduced the entrance fee, so we can have more people,” Debre said. “People go inside and can buy coupons to any booth they want.”
Last year, the event sold package tickets including entrance tickets and food and beverages at all booths at the event.
Besides food and beverage, the event also offers a magic show, photo booth, painting booth, game and live music by three French bands based in Vietnam including Hot Tzigani, Gwemilli, and Peche à la mouche.
Like previous years, attendees have the chance to win prizes in a lucky draw.
Last year’s Balade en France had 1,600 visitors over two days.