The Président Cheese Paris to Provence Festival is one of the exciting events coming up at the historic Como House 21-23 November, where guests can experience all things French. The festival has become one of the favourite events and we wanted to find out a bit more from the founder and director, Laura Rancie about the inspiration behind the festival and what we can look forward to.
The Président Cheese Paris to Provence festival has become a must-attend festival for Melbournians. What was the original inspiration behind the festival?
Going to France each year to visit my family, one of the highlights is always the beautiful village markets that pop up at various days of the week. It was always fun going back to the village square on a non market day and seeing the difference. I thought it would be so fun to start a French styled market at home in Melbourne, but the original idea evolved from a market into a full blown festival at a well regarded National Trust property of Como House & Garden so that was beyond my initial vision which still takes my breath away when I think of how far it has come in such a short period of time.
Do you have any highlights during this year’s festival?
Yeah – I’m super excited to showcase all the staff in costume. Half are wearing traditional costumes from the 1800’s Provence region. Full skirts and petticoats, shawl, bonnet, wide brimmed hat and apron. The other half are dressed as mimes ( This meant my entire family had a really easy outfit choice for Halloween this year ). I’m also really excited about having Président cheese there – they’re France’s number 1 selling cheese and have just launched in Australia a few weeks back. The fact they’re even a the festival is really exciting and people will love that they’re giving away 2500 free cheese showbags. Definitely a must see !
What are you favourite French eateries in Melbourne?
Well I live in Camberwell so really good cheese is plentiful around where I live. I usually go to Leo’s or the Camberwell fresh food market and stock up there. Although with 2 littlies in my house we’ve always got babybel, the laughing cow and double brie on tap. Easy for snacks and sandwiches.
What’s your favourite French dish?
A good charcuterie plate is my go to. It must be loaded with really good fresh bread, saucisson, cornichons, the Barossa Valley French ham is my favourite at the moment. I just found it the other week and I am so obsessed with it. Plus some double brie and the Fromage d’Affinois blue and if I’m really greedy there’ll be some pate or terrine on the plate too. A La Bouffe restaurant in South Yarra have a really delicious charcuterie platter that I adore.
For those that are thinking of travelling to France, what are some of your must-see places/sites.
Well I named the festival Paris to Provence because that’s where we go each year. We always go to Paris first, because I can’t wait to get there first and foremost. No matter how many times one has been to Paris – you can’t help but take in all its magic and beauty and be in awe. And if it’s your first, it’s truly a surreal experience. Then we take the TGV (the really fast train) down to Marseille. It’s about a 4 hour scenic trip through the country side straight down to the south of France so that alone is incredible but certainly we spend most of our time in Provence and Marseillle. My favourite village is probably Cassis – we have lots of good memories there. It’s a seaside harbour town with pretty shops and beautiful clear warm water. Well, it’s a French village on the Mediterranean so you get the picture!
For more information and tickets for Paris to Provence festival visit http://www.paristoprovence.com.au/.