Still have fireworks leftover from Fourth of July? Get ’em out in time this weekend for Bastille Day, this 14th of July!
What are the French celebrating, exactly? Quick history lesson: The late 1700s saw great civil unrest in France, where people suffered from food shortages while the rich lived luxuriously. 14th July 1789 marks the date where revolutionaries stormed the Bastille prison, also seen as the pivotal beginning of the French Revolution. Hence, France’s Independence Day!
Get in with the commemoration of this incredible holiday, with fun activities to participate in, and awesome recipes to celebrate all things French this weekend, after the cut!
Go: Bastille Day on 60th Street
Celebrate the very best of French culture this Sunday, July 13 from noon onwards, at the French Institute Alliance Française’s annual street fair. It’s the perfect gathering to celebrate our country’s friendship with France!
The street fair will also have live music, with rare opportunities to shop for classic crafts and gourmet treats like macarons, profiteroles and crepes. They’ve even got a Kids’ Corner, where kids get to enjoy face painting! Go ahead, we won’t tell if you’re tempted. Watch the video above, for a quick taste of what to expect at the street fair! For more info, click here.
If you haven’t heard of Bastille Day NYC’s prize drawing, then you’ll be glad you’re reading this. Buy tickets at $5 for one ticket, of $20 for a book of five tickets in order to stand a chance to win an all-expenses paid trip to France, for two! Click here for the full list of prizes (St. Barts or New Orleans, anybody?)
The drawing will take place at the annual fair’s Main Stage at 4:45PM this Sunday, but you won’t have to be there to win as results will be announced by 19th July. Get your tickets here, or at the fair at the Information & Ticket Sales booths, or the Discover Beaujolais booth. (Just remember: 18 or older to participate!)
Experience: Le Fête Montmarte
If you’re in for a true French experience, celebrate Bastille Day at Montmartre, 158 8th Ave! The Little Wisco Restaurant Group will hold the inaugural La Fête Montmartre this Sunday, with food from chef Michael Toscano, free flow of cocktails, wine and beer and a few other surprises! Just turn up in your best red, white and/or blue attire, anytime from 2PM to 9PM this 13th July, and have a très fantastique time!
Make: 30 Minute Beef Bourguignon
What’s a French celebration without the traditional stew braised in red wine, that originates from the Burgundy region? Usually the beef bourguignon may take up to two hours for the meat to tender, but we found a recipe you can whip up in half an hour!
So maybe this recipe is a huge variation from the Julia Child version, but Blogging Over Thyme promises all the flavor of a traditional beef bourguignon, without the extra minutes. Click here for pointers on making this hearty dish, and top off with creamy mashed potatoes or pasta!
Make: Rum Raisin Waffled French Toast
Excuse us for being so literal, but who can resist a perfectly prepared ‘pain perdu’? That’s French for “lost bread”, so you know they’re definitely talking about day old or stale bread!
Switch things up this Bastille Day weekend by making French toast, in a waffle iron instead! Based on this recipe, whole wheat bread can hold better. Top it off with raisins, soaked in rum. Maple syrup and rum raisins? Sign us up!
Make: Mushroom Croque Monsieur
Another reason to love the French? Croque monsieur! Who knew grilled ham and cheese sandwich could sound so worldly and elegant? Typically eaten as a quick snack, or for breakfast, if it’s good enough for Proust (Seriously guys, only one of the world’s greatest authors), it’s good enough for us!
We’re kind of obsessed with Gruyère cheese, and so should you if you’re not! Typically used when making the croque monsieur, you’ll also need grated Parmesan cheese, button mushrooms, minced shallot, tarragon leaves and lots of butter to make this gorgeous sandwich. Click here for the full recipe.
Taste: Croissants at Ceci Cela Patisserie
Can’t fly to Paris, for a taste of their amazing, buttery croissants? Have the next best thing with Ceci-Cela Patisserie, at 55 Spring Street. Immerse yourself in the French café experience, with devastatingly delicious pastries like pain au chocolat, pain aux raisins and of course, croissants!
According to Serious Eats, Ceci-Cela is the place for the ultimate buttery, light and flaky croissant you will find in town. (If you’re feeling generous, please send some of their almond croissants our way!)
Drink: Kir Royale
Need a burst of sophistication this Bastille Day, without the price tag? Go with the Kir or Kir Royale, a splendid French cocktail to enjoy as apéritif (The drink before your dinner, the French get it right again!).
Serve in an elegant champagne flute with white wine (Kir) or champagne (Kir Royale), topping it off with a splash of créme de cassis (French blackcurrant liqueur). Don’t have it? Substitute with any other fruit liqueur such as blackberry or raspberry. If all else fails, there’s always raspberry syrup! (The French will understand, right?)
Have a great weekend, everyone!
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