Given the deep passion many in France have for cuisine, it’s perhaps not surprising that French gastronomy was inscribed by UNESCO on its List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2010.
Since 2015, an annual event entitled ‘Good France,’ also known as ‘Goût de France’ (Taste of France) in French, has brought that very gastronomy to 156 countries across five continents, including here in China.
Nowadays, a whole host of French restaurants can be found across the Middle Kingdom, largely in first- and second-tier cities.
Getting French food into the Chinese market is not without its difficulties. For one thing, translating the names of French dishes into Chinese can be challenging even for the most adept of linguists.
However, in spite of any difficulties, both French and Chinese people are united by their shared passion for food.
The sixth edition of the ‘Good France’ event runs from Thursday, October 14 until Friday, October 22 and gives diners a chance to indulge in a range of dishes. Participating restaurants are in Beijing and Qingdao.
French Ambassador to China Mr. Laurent Bili giving an address. Image via Ambassade de France en Chine
We reached out to French Ambassador to China Mr. Laurent Bili and asked about the origins of ‘Good France,’ the importance of sustainability in the food industry and how cuisine can build bridges between cultures.
This is the sixth ‘Good France’ event. Could you explain the purpose of this event and why it is so important?
‘Goût de France,’ known as ‘Good France’ in English, was created in 2015 by the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and Alain Ducasse (a stalwart chef of French cuisine).
It celebrates French gastronomy which was inscribed by UNESCO on its List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2010. The event involves thousands of dinners in restaurants around the world. In six years, ‘Good France’ has established itself as an unmissable gastronomic event with growing success over the years.
The sixth edition, that will take place all around the world from October 14 to 22, 2021, is very poignant as it occurs after the upheaval due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. In this context, I think that what French gastronomy has to offer is much needed – a certain ‘art de vivre,’ a universal sense of togetherness, and a festive meal bringing people together for an occasion to enjoy the art of good eating and drinking.
This year’s edition will focus on responsible gastronomy and the French region of Centre Val de Loire (Loire Valley), where the gastronomic meal of the French was developed during the Renaissance in the Loire castles. Both Chinese and French dishes share the specificity of being rather poetic, which tends to make any meal a proper journey.
Furthermore, ‘Good France’ 2021 will be characterized by a marked commitment to a cuisine that is more respectful of the planet’s resources. This is in line with this year’s other major international events, notably the Kunming COP 15 (UN Biodiversity Conference) that started this week.
Over the next few months, this event aims to highlight the expertise and convictions of these women and men, who are passing on their tastes and values, and each day are shaping the gastronomy of the future.
How important is sustainable gastronomy for ‘Good France’?
As I just mentioned, this year’s edition will have a strong focus on sustainable gastronomy.
Yet, sustainability has always been a matter of great importance within the scope of ‘Good France.’ French gastronomy places emphasis on delicious food made using local and natural ingredients that reflect the diversity of the French nation itself.
For instance, the Loire Valley, known as the ‘Garden of France,’ boasts various fruity wines, goat cheese, rillettes (pâté made of minced pork and other ingredients) and the famous apple pie ‘tarte tatin.’
In order to strengthen its commitmen