Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & Spa, 158 Ferny Avenue, Surfers Paradise; Ph: 07 5592 9772
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Considering that many of us are descendants of Anglo-Saxon forefathers, it’s ironic that we’re so happy to celebrate Bastille Day.
Or is it?
In fact, the French national holiday symbolises much more than just the storming of the Bastille prison. It celebrated the end of the feudal system and the harsh rule of the Bourbon monarchy, the establishment of constitutional government, and freedom for ordinary citizens. Despite its divisive beginnings, above all, it is seen as a big thank you to those who helped create modern France and a celebration of the unity of a nation.
Then too, of course, a party is cause enough to celebrate! So when we received an invitation to join in a ‘Tour de France’ to celebrate Bastille Day at Citrique, we happily accepted.
Continuing the theme of world culinary tours (previous celebrations including visits to the food of Mexico, India, Brazil and the Philippines), the Tour de France was a themed celebration with staff dressed in French themed costume.
One of the best features of Citique’s themed festivals is the interaction with staff who embrace the sense of patriotism and ‘joie de vivre’. A pot of snails cooked in garlic butter and a whole baked camembert, its middle oozing lusciousness, were brought around from table to table, supplementing the prepared array of food on offer.
The French component of Citrique’s menu was additional to the more popular sections of the buffet. For example, the famous seafood buffet remained unchanged, but the central chef stations displayed regional theming and French cuisine. From Alsace, where the Marriott’s French chef Eric is from there’s Kronenberg beer, Choucroute, and Tarte flambée. There were a lot of other regional dishes in the buffet as well, such as Boeuf bourguignon, Duck à l’orange, Cassoulet, Coq au vin, Saumon rotie entier au four (Whole baked salmon), Bouillabaise (Seafood stew), Steak au cognac and Blanquette de veau (Veal). You could have pizza made to order or, better still, it was a chance to have a Crêpe Suzette prepared just for you. Luscious!
Head Chef Andrew Fraser had previously told us a little about the Marriott’s kitchen and the idea behind the culinary tour concept:
“We have the Marriott’s largest Food & Beverage department in Australia. Staff of twenty-four different nationalities work in our kitchen, so we thought it would be a great idea to use their expertise to cook their country’s classic dishes. We’ve had culinary tours of Brazil and the Philippines, and … [now] French cuisine. It’s a great way to extend our reach to diners, by giving them a taste of cultural food in a festive atmosphere.”
On Bastille Day, extra celebrations were held. As well as the nightly accordion player, can can dancers and a singer cheered diners further.
“Classic French dishes, French beverages and a fun atmosphere, all in memory of those who lost their lives to build our world,” Chef Eric says. Sounds very much like ANZAC Day to us.
Visiting the Marriott is a celebration at any time; a ‘fête’ is an added incentive. We’re all for celebrating unity and if that means experiencing the customs of our friends, then we’re in! What better way to reach understanding than around a table enjoying a meal together.
So what’s next? Christmas in July and then Oktoberfest in September/October… or should I say Oktober?
Disclaimer: Good Food Gold Coast and Blank were guests of the Surfers Paradise Marriott. Read more of Marj’s reviews on Good Food Gold Coast