Cesar Cruz Jr.
Business Mirror | December 19, 2016
In the Philippines, it’s the time when the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Philippines gathers the French and Filipino communities to clink wine glasses alongside local and international business groups.
A year after celebrating its Silver Anniversary, Soiree Beaujolais turned its focus on the French history with “Versailles” as its theme. The Palace of Versailles, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was once the seat of French Royalty, such as Marie Antoinette, Louis XVI’s spouse.
Recently held at the Marriott Grand Ballroom, guests were treated as if they were invited to a royal party thrown by the last Queen of France. As the well-dressed crowd waited to the giant doors to swing open, fine wine of the Beaujolais and Burgundy regions were passed around (Cote du Rhone AOP Rouge 2015, Fleurie AOP 2014, Brouilly AOP 2014, Vin de Bourgogne, Coteaux Bourguignons Blanc, La Fontaine a Vin Rose). Some were dressed with a hint of French royalty, but a select few went all out in their costumes to the delight of everyone present.
At the appointed time, the French Chamber Board of Directors and employees performed a royal parade; all dressed like it’s the 1780’s, before the opening of the doors. Then, the exciting drama was revealed to the public: a huge dolled-up ballroom entirely decorated in a way that gives the illusion one is really in a palace! The hungry crowd made a bee line for the sumptuous French food prepared by the Marriott Hotel Manila Executive Chef Meik Brammer and his team of Chefs. Fresh oysters, traditional chicken stew with beans, and baked beef tenderloin in crust were the crowd favorite.
After the feast for the tummy, the lights slowly turned off and the people gathered at the center stage for a spectacular opening act performance ala Cirque du Soleil. Aftewards, Issa Litton as the stunning event host, introduced Stanislas Camart and Vanesssa Hans, respectively President and Director of the French Chamber of Commerce. They both gave us an overview of the Soiree Beaujolais, its tradition and its impact on the cultural and business relations between France and the Philippines.
As Soiree Beaujolais 2016 came with a heart, The French Chamber also highlighted its foundation France-Philippines United Action (FPUA) which initiated a Silent Auction of four paintings displayed inside the gallery at the Ballroom. Philippe Gauthier, President of FPUA and Founding President of the French Chamber explained to us that the artworks displayed were donated by celebrity Solenn Heussaff and three local artists – Alfonso Recto, Piaget Martelino, and Chris Verayo. The raised fund through the auction will be used to complete the third rehabilitation site in Bogo City, north of Cebu. This will enable two families, former victims of Typhoon Haiyan, to have resilient houses.
Following the French tradition whereby cheese comes after the main course and before the dessert, twenty kinds of cheeses entered Marriott Grand Ballroom after the uncorking ceremony of the Beaujolais Nouveau wine. Then the colorful dessert table was finally up for grabs.
Then, more entertainment ensued as the talented Silver Streaks band played upbeat tunes from different decades. Finally, DJ Mars Miranda spun some billboard music until the party ended at 2 AM.
In the end, Soiree Beaujolais was more than just impressive feast for the senses. The almost 1500 guests gathered undoubtedly enjoyed their journey through the 1780’s in Versailles. We are looking forward to Beaujolais next year with the French Chamber of Commerce as they might pleasantly surprise us again with an original concept party.
Cesar Cruz Jr.
Cesar studied communication arts at the University of Santo Tomas. He writes articles in the Lifestyle Section of Business Mirror as a lifestyle writer. He manages Pancit Malabon, his own restaurant at Banawe St.