Nine restaurants in Kolkata rustled up an array of exquisite French gourmet items in sync with a global gastronomic event where 1,300 chefs across five continents simultaneoulsy participated to celebrate the excellence and exuberance of the European nation&’s famed cuisine.

Spread across five courses – cold starter, hot starter, fish or crustacean, meat or poultry, cheese and dessert -the ‘Gout de France / Good France’ day-long fiesta Thursday came in the wake of ‘Gastronomic Meal of the French’ being inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Heritage List.

“This initiative, launched by the French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development Laurent Fabius, under the aegis of celebrated chef Alain Ducasse, aims, over the space of a dinner, to salute the excellence of French cuisine,” said Stephen Amalir, Alliance Française du Bengale director in a statement.

“It celebrates its innovative skills, and the values that it conveys: bringing people together over a shared meal, the pleasure of taste, and the balance between human beings and the products of nature,” he added.

India is among the top five participating countries. Forty-eight restaurants across India have been chosen by the selection committee of international chefs headed by Ducasse. 

The Kolkata participants were The Square (Novotel), The Bridge (Park Hotel), La Cucina (Hyatt Regency Kolkata), West View Bar & Grill (ITC Sonar), La Terrasse (Oberoi), Café Swiss (Swissotel), Paris Café, The Chambers Dining Room (Taj Bengal) and Legacy Grill (Lalit Great Eastern). 

Most of the chosen restaurants pulled out all stops to dish up French classics – nicoise salad, French onion soup, lobster thermidor, French vanilla bean ice cream, coq au vin (chicken braised with wine, mushrooms etc.), duck confit among others, while some went off the beaten path to serve traditional recipes with an Indian twist using bhetki and hilsa. 

Paired with the quintessential wine and cheese (Comte, Camembert, French goat cheese), the menu truly reflected the joie de vivre of the French.