We’ve found everything you need to celebrate Bastille Day 2021, from French food to wine, recipes and more
Today marks Bastille Day – an annual French holiday that celebrates the storming of Bastille, a military fortress, in 1789, by angry Parisian crowds.
The moment played an important part in the revolution and each year it’s celebrated with parties, fireworks and parades.
Last year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, traditional celebrations including the military parade down the Champs-Élysées were scaled down, but this staple of Bastille Day will be returning for 2021, with more than 25,000 people able to observe.
If you too want to mark the holiday, we’ve got you covered. We have found the best of French food and drink for you to celebrate with.
Whether you’re planning a dinner party, a picnic or even honouring the occasion on your own, indulge yourself this year with these French delicacies, from fine wines to fancy desserts.
When it comes to wine, you’ll find us in the south of France, sipping on a Côtes de Provence rosé.
The pale pink tipple uses grenache as the dominant grape with notes of cinsault, syrah and carignan and perhaps a dash of mourvèdre or rolle.
Our reviewer was impressed with its Provencal quality for the low price, adding that “the grenache-dominated etoile is full of fresh vibrancy, with citrus and apricot notes”.
“Full bodied with complex spicy flavours of tropical fruits – think vanilla and ginger-inflected grilled pineapple – it nevertheless has freshness and lift, dances lightly on the palate and the alcohol is restrained,” our reviewer said. It’s easy to match with any kind of fish, white meats or salads, too.
For a summer classic, we’d recommend the Minuty prestige 2019 (£19.99, Majestic.co.uk). “This wine is pure class. Pale as a sheet, and with a sleek minimalist bottle, it nails the textbook Provençal aesthetic; it wouldn’t look out of place at a beach club in Saint Tropez or Cannes,” our tester said.
We found that the £20 bottle is a worthy investment if you want to see the full elegance that southern French rosés are capable of.
From brie to camembert, the French know their cheeses. If you’re looking to expand your palette, sign up to a subscription box that will deliver a hand-picked selection to your door every month.
We were impressed with The Fine Cheese Co.’s monthly cheese subscription (£108, Finecheese.co.uk), which arrives with four decent-sized cheeses, a box of gourmet crackers and an excellent booklet with space for your own tasting notes.
Earning the top spot in our review of the best boxes, our delivery contained the “deeply flavoured lady grey goat’s milk, a classic French fourme d’ame, a rich ice-cream-like la tur from Italy and a silky-smooth old roan, the only raw milk wensleydale actually made in Wensleydale itself”.
We were also impressed with the Macknade cheese experience subscription (£50, Macknade.com) with our box containing all French cheeses including classic brie, a spicy roquefort, a zingy comté and a light, creamy goat’s cheese that was a dream in a salad. They were paired with delicious chive and olive oil crackers and an Italian mostarda made from black figs, making for an indulgent treat.
Macarons are synonymous with France and are a sweet treat you can enjoy anytime.
They also make gorgeous gifts, such as this Napoléon III gift box (£22.50, Laduree.co.uk) that you can enjoy yourself or pass on to someone else.
You can hand-pick eight macarons and the flavours range from pistachio to orange blossom to caramel banana.
If you want to master the art of French cooking, look no further than Rick Stein’s Rick Stein’s Secret France (£18.69, Hive.co.uk) that accompanies the cook’s popular TV show of the same name. “From the perfect croque monsieur to buckwheat pancakes with mushroom and eggs, we found most of the ingredients listed easy to obtain, and Rick’s writing style a joy to follow,” our reviewer said.
When it comes to vintage French cookbooks, Richard Olney reigns supreme. The French Menu Cookbook (£12.99, Blackwells.co.uk) was once voted “the best cookbook ever” by The Observer Food Monthly awards and, despite first being released in 1970, still has a legion of fans today.
The 150 recipes centre on the flavours of Provence and the book also has 32 menus that bring the dishes together for various occasions. “Expect simple dishes such as scrambled eggs with truffles, crepes a la normande (with apple and brandy) and lamb stew,” our reviewer said.
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