How to Throw a Bastille Day Fête
Pop the Champagne cork and break out your beret: July 14 is Bastille Day, which commemorates the start of the French Revolution. That means there’s another excuse to indulge in all things French!
At San Francisco’s RN74, Adam Sobel, the executive chef, hosts an extravagant Bastille Day fête that features acrobats, French musicians and period costumes. For those hosting at home, Sobel recommends reusing those July 4th decorations.
“Since the colors of the French flag are just like those of the American flag—solid red, white and blue—July 4th decorations can be easily repurposed for Bastille Day celebrations,” he says.
Playing the music of French singers like Carla Bruni or Edith Piaf will add spunk to the party scene.
Of course, you’ll want beaucoup de French wine, particularly festive, fizzy Champagne. But save some bubbles for this refreshing French-inspired cocktail, too.
Recipe courtesy Leo Smith, bartender, RN74, San Francisco
This original cocktail features the French apéritif wine Lillet, which is also delicious on ice, and garnished with an orange slice.
1½ ounces Lillet
½ ounce Aperol
½ ounce Cynar
½ ounce gin
½ ounce Champagne
1 dash Peychaud’s Bitters
Grapefruit twist, for garnish
Combine all the ingredients except the grapefruit in a rocks glass, add ice and garnish with the twist.
Tip: To turn this drink into punch, add 3 ounces of tangerine juice and serve in a tall Collins glass.
Sobel suggests crowd-pleasing dishes that can be made in advance so that hosts can participate in the festivities, too. Fondue is perfect, he says. (see recipe below).
“It’s social, it’s fun and instantly becomes the centerpiece of any social gathering,” Sobel says. “And who doesn’t like dipping vegetables and bread in cheese?”
Recipe courtesy Adam Sobel, executive chef, RN74, San Francisco
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 thyme sprigs
2 garlic cloves
4 cups Chardonnay
7 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups grated Gruyère cheese
2 cups grated Emmentaler cheese
1-inch diced cubes of bread and/or vegetables for dipping
Combine the black peppercorns, thyme sprigs and garlic in a small piece of cheesecloth, tied with twine into a sachet.
In a large saucepan, add the wine and the sachet. Bring the wine to a boil. Lower the heat and allow the wine to simmer for 15–20 minutes.
Whisk in the cornstarch slowly. Once fully incorporated, simmer and stir for 2 minutes. Whisk in the grated cheeses and adjust the fondue’s thickness with water.
Remove sachet, and serve with bread and/or vegetables on the side. Serves 10–16.
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