Hosting an event with French cuisine can be tricky, especially if you expect a French person to attend. Trust me.
So to expand my knowledge, beyond traveling to France and attempting to cook French dishes, I decided to take a South of France cooking class at LivingSocial. I was really excited when I arrived at my cooking station:
In the class, the instructor explained how there are Italian and Moroccan influences in the dishes we were cooking. Therefore, if you are hosting a South of France-themed event, it would be OK to serve a variety of Mediterranean dishes, such as an olive tapenade hors d’oeuvre.
I was especially surprised by the international influence when we made a Seafood Soup with Rouille. The variety of spices, from all over the world, made the soup incredibly flavorful.
The entree we cooked was the best chicken I had ever made! The key ingredient was the herbes de provence, which consists of basil, thyme, lavender, and other herbs.
The most important dish for a South of France-themed event is clafoutis (pronounced klaa-futi), a baked French dessert. If you want to be true to tradition, you can bake clafoutis with cherries that are not pitted; just make sure to warn your guests! In my cooking class, we baked clafoutis with raspberries since they are in season. You can use other fruit, such as apricots, plums, apples, and blackberries. Please keep in mind that recipes written in English are usually a custard, rather than the cake I tasted in France. I recommend adding a little more flour to your mix so it tastes like a cake.
As you plan the decorations, don’t forget lavender because it’s found in abundance at all the markets in the South of France. You could decorate your event with pots of lavender or simply place a single stem on each plate.
Also, keep in mind the South of France includes gorgeous cities bordering the sea, such as Nice and Saint Tropez. Rich and elegant earth colors and designs would be perfect for the table cloths and napkins. For example, look at these adorable napkins from Williams-Sonoma:
I’m ready to eat more French food now! Bon appétit!