Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Two Cool Events Coming Up This Week...

Two events caught my eye for this week, one happening in Paris on Thursday and one in London over the weekend.

Tech blog Rude Baguette, which tracks the tech and start-up world in France, will be holding its winter Paris Founders (or #ParisFounders) event on Thursday, January 28. Launched in 2013, Paris Founders "brings the global tech ecosystem together for the country’s largest networking event" four times  a year. Speakers will include investors Jacky Abitbol and Gil Dibner; Damien Bon of Stuart (a delivery startup that raised €22 million pre launch); COO Yann Lechelle of Snips; Microsoft's new startup leader Diana Flippova; Keyrus CEO Eric Cohen, CEO Franck Melloul of i24 and others. Different countries and cities are often showcased at these events and this time, it will be Tel Aviv. "Paris and Tel Aviv have long been interconnected as ecosystems, financially and entrepreneurially," explains Paola Gabriele of Rude Baguette. "In addition to showing off great founders and products on stage, we'll be bringing out special guests who are involved in both the Paris and Tel Aviv startup ecosystems."  The format for Thursday evening will be startup pitches, followed by keynotes, followed by a networking cocktail. Planning ahead, future Paris Founders events will focus on San Francisco (April) and London (July), with a large international two-day one in Paris in October. Some success stories and alumni info can be found here. For Thursday tickets and all other info, click here.

The annual France Show--the UK's biggest celebration of all things French--happens at London's Olympia this weekend, January 29 to 31st.  The organizers call it "the best of France in a day."  You'll find 150-plus exhibitors promoting French food, wine, tourism, vacation ideas, finance and legal help, entertainment and more, all under one roof.  (To see all exhibitors, click here.) Roughly 15,000 attendees are expected. As in previous years there will be a French market, cooking demos, tutored wine tastings, a language theater, a chance to play pétanque and entertainment. The France Show also hosts the largest French Property Exhibition in the UK, so if you're hunting for real estate, this is a great place to start.  There will also be prize giveaways, such as a gourmet cycling holiday in Southern France, a week-long stay in the Dordogne, a canal boating trip, luxury weekend breaks, an Apple Watch, a bike and more. Tickets are £16 at the door or £12 in advance.  Children under 16 accompanied by a paying adult are free. For all the show info including directions, hours and a schedule, go to: thefranceshow.com.

Photos: Two scenes from the last #ParisFounders event at the Hotel de Ville in Paris followed by three scenes from the last France Show at Olympia in London.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Contest: Who Makes NYC's Best Baguette?

*Note: Here are the winners for the Best Baguette contest I wrote about just below. Eric Kayser of Maison Kayser took home the grand prize by both reader and jury’s choice. A Special Jury Prize was awarded to the two runners-up for best baguette, Amy Scherber of Amy’s Bakery and Jerry Jan of Breads Bakery, and Clemence Danko of Choc O Pain took home the Special Fan Prix. Epicerie Boulud was acknowledged for the Most Original Bread, and Orwasher’s Bakery was named Best Specialty Bread.

Gentlemen, start your ovens! Fourteen of the city's best bakers and pastry chefs will be battling it out for the title "Best Baguette in NYC" at the Sofitel New York on Thursday January 21st.

The event starts at 6:30 pm and is open to the public; info on tickets is below.

The competition pits the finalists of a readers' poll conducted by the online magazine French Morning against each other, in a blind tasting judged by an impressive panel of experts.

Vying for the title will be: 

* François Brunet (Epicerie Boulud)
Keith Cohen (Orwasher’s Bakery)
François Danielo (La Boulangerie)
Clemence Danko (Choc O Pain)
Zachary Golper (Bien Cuit)
Eric Kayser (Maison Kayser)
Jean-Claude Perennou (Cannelle Patisserie)
Hervé Poussot (Almondine)
* Gus Reckel (L’Imprimerie)
* Uri Scheft (Bread’s Bakery)
Amy Scherber (Amy’s Bakery)
Le District
Fairway Market 
* Le Pain Quotidien

The professional jury: 

*Chef André Soltner (dean of classic studies at the French Culinary Institute, NYC; James  Beard Lifetime Achievement Award winner; former chef-owner of Lutèce).
*Ariane Daguin (owner/founder of D'Artagnan; winner of Bon Appetit‘s Lifetime  Achievement Award).
* Chef Didier Elena (culinary director of the Chef’s Club by Food & Wine; former exec  chef of Alain Ducasse at the Essex House, where he earned two Michelin stars).
* Sylvain Harribey (exec chef of Sofitel New York and Food Network alum).
* French novelist Marc Levy.
* Sara Moulton (TV chef, author, Food Network alum).
* Charlie Von Over (bread expert and author of The Best Bread Ever).

Event tickets are $30 per person and include a tasting of the baguettes (each chef is allowed two types), charcuterie (from D’Artagnan), cheeses (from Savencia) and wine (from Les Jamelles in the Languedoc).

To buy tickets online, click here.  If space is available, they'll also be sold at the door. 

The Sofitel is at 45 West 44th Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues in Manhattan. 

Questions? Contact: daniel.harpaz@sofitel.com212-782-3013.  

Photo: Le Petit Parisien by Willy Ronis, 1952.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Win a Week in a Gorgeous Provence Villa

To celebrate their 25th year in business, my friends at the rental agency JustFrance.com are giving away a week in their most-popular villa in Provence. 

The Grand Prize winner of the #justfrance25 promotion gets a glorious one-week stay at La Tourelle, a renovated 18th-century farmhouse near Vacqueyras and Beaumes-de-Venise, in the heart of the Southern Côtes du Rhône wine country. La Tourelle has a heated pool, two acres of grounds and spectacular views over the northern Vaucluse. The prize can be used by up to six guests during one of two weeks: either May 14-21 or May 21-28, 2016. 

Included in the package are a welcome basket, a chef-prepared welcome dinner, your fridge stocked for breakfast on Sunday morning and a half-day guided tour of local vineyards with a wine professional. The retail value is $6,325. 

A second-place winner will get $1000 off a rental of $5000 or more. Third prize is a gift box of elegant personalized soaps, made in Provence by Comme un Murmure

The #justfrance25 anniversary giveaway is open to U.S. residents only...for all the details and to enter, click HERE. The deadline for entries is Feb 2 and the winner will be notified by Feb 7. 

To follow JustFrance.com on social media, find them on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

Good luck to you all on winning this great giveaway. And congrats to everyone at Just France on this impressive milestone!!