With overseas trips on hold, Bastille Day on Tuesday 14 July is the perfect excuse to re-create a French escape within the comfort of your own home. Here is guide for how to do this.

To eat

A beautifully presented cheese board is quintessential for your soiree. And it’s easy too – simply grab a wooden board, lay out a selection of your favourite cheeses, and decorate it with a bunch of grapes, nuts and dried fruits.

If you’re in Cape Town, The French Market Grocery Shop in the Gardens Centre has plenty of French gourmet treats to choose from. In Jo’burg, try Cheese Gourmet in Linden – which also offers a selection of freshly baked bread, meat, jams, sauces and an incredible olive bar.

For the perfect pairing for your cheese and wine (more on that below), you’ll need some bread – or baguettes, to be exact.

The French take their baguettes very seriously, with each person consuming an average of half a baguette a day (or 10 billion baguettes every year, collectively). So perhaps it isn’t surprising that France has a scientific ‘Bread Observatory’ (Observatoire du Pain) which holds an annual competition to determine who makes the very best in Paris.

For some of the best baguettes in South Africa, try Jason Bakery and Coco Safar (Cape Town), or Patisserie de Paris (Jo’burg).

To drink

Champagne is a must for any French celebration. Here are some recommendations which can all be found locally:

Veuve Clicquot Rich Rosé

Created for mixology, Rich Rosé is Veuve Clicquot’s most versatile champagne. Let it tickle your taste buds poured over ice with fresh ingredients, including lime, pineapple, ginger or tea. Or let your inner mixologist out and try something unique to your flavour preferences.

Available from: R995 at select retailers

Moët & Chandon, Nectar Impérial

Nectar Impérial is a demi-sec champagne, with rich and fruity flavours of exotic fruits (pineapple and mango), silky stonefruit (mirabelle, plum and apricot) and fresh grapefruit. It pairs beautifully with combinations of sweet-sour, fat-spicy, sugary-sweet dishes, such as white meat and poultry, poached or roasted in a creamy sauce, and cooked with honey or maple syrup.

Available from R599 at select retailers

Moët & Chandon Nectar Impérial Rosé

Nectar Impérial Rosé has a balanced palate, combining structure, smoothness and freshness with note of blood orange. It is delicious with fruity desserts, but compliments a far wider range of flavours – so if you’re feeling adventurous you can pair it with more exotic dishes, such as mushroom and asparagus; crispy prosciutto and brie cheese; steak; salmon with dill; shrimp, avocado and crispy fish tacos.

Available from: R749 at select retailers

Dom Pérignon 2008

Each vintage of Dom Pérignon expresses a singular and unique character, while still retaining the character of the Dom Pérignon brand. Bottles from 2008 have achieved a perfect balance, and are best served with dishes with duality: warmth and freshness and meat pairings, cooked and raw. The citrus flavors in the wine make these dishes feel lighter on the palate while the ample bubbles complement the crunchy textures. Spices enhance and accentuate 2008’s effervescence and densify the wine.

Available from: R2,249 at select retailers

Hennessy V.S

Clearly this isn’t a champagne, but it does deserve a mention for those who love Cognac. Hennessy Very Special (V.S) is one of the most popular cognacs in the world. Matured in new oak barrels, it is bold and fragrant with toasted and fruit notes. It’s an easy-to-enjoy drink, either alone or in cocktails, from classic recipes to sophisticated creations or easy mixed after-dinner drinks.

Available from: R429 at select retailers

To listen to…

The final touch for your celebrations is some classic French music. Try Jacques Brel, Yves Montan, Brigitte Bardot and Gainsbourgh who can all be found on this Spotify playlist.

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