Thursday, February 4, 2016

Art and Food Pairing™: Les Grandes Robes de Lamyne M. and Ivoire Gourmand - Part 1

If you've never been to the basilica at Saint-Denis, famous for its royal necropolis, now there's a unique reason to visit.

The exhibition entitled Les Grandes Robes de Lamyne M. (The Giant Gowns of Lamyne M.) is one of the most extraordinary that you'll ever see. It's being held at the basilica. Originally scheduled through April 30, 2016, it is being prolonged through July 2 to coincide with the Festival Saint-Denis. Tom and I were invited to attend opening of the exhibition hosted by the designer of the gowns, Lamyne M.

Saint-Denis Basilica
© Discover Paris!

Les Grandes Robes information panel
© Discover Paris!

I first brought you news of plans for Les Grandes Robes in 2014, when I covered a fashion show of Lamyne's works that was held on a canal boat cruise. Professor Maya Thebault and students from La Source, a vocational high school in the town of Nogent that trains textile professionals, were on that cruise. They gave a presentation of the project before the fashion show began.

Les Grandes Robes is inspired by the medieval garments represented by the gisants (recumbent statues, or effigies) of French queens and princesses whose remains are located at the basilica. The garments have been created in contemporary fabrics commonly worn by Saint-Denis residents - examples include African wax, denim, jersey, and ceremonial cloths from North Africa. Students from La Source, as well as women from Saint-Denis' Floréal district, worked to create the gowns on display.

Blanche de France gown
© Images and collage by Discover Paris!

Eight gowns are being shown in the basilica. Seven of these fashion creations measure three meters (9.8 feet) in height; the eighth (Jeanne II de France) is an astounding four meters (13.1 feet) tall! Six are displayed in the crypt and the remaining two, including the tallest, are found in the apse.

Jeanne II de France gown
© Images and collage by Discover Paris!

Lamyne M. looks up at Marguerite de Flandres gown
© Images and collage by Discover Paris!

Lamyne's intent in creating these garments was to pay homage to the grandeur of women and to begin a dialogue between the historic and the contemporary. He notes that many of the citizens of Saint-Denis would never think of coming to the basilica because they do not find themselves reflected in it. His gowns bridge the gap between France's monocultural past and the numerous cultures that intermingle in the city of Saint-Denis today. (Over 120 nationalities comprise the current population of Saint-Denis.)

Each gown tells a story. For example, the vibrant red of the gown that represents Constance de Castille recalls her death from excessive hemorrhage during childbirth. The cloth is African Wax.

Constance de Castille gown
© Discover Paris!

The numerous shirt collars and ties that comprise the gown representing Isabelle d'Aragon evoke the white collar workers who commute to Saint-Denis' Plaine district but who know little to nothing of the community that lives outside their office windows.

Isabelle d'Aragon gown
© Discover Paris!

The exhibition was curated by Franciade, an association dedicated to promoting the cultural heritage of Saint-Denis, and the Saint-Denis Basilica. Additional information about the exhibition can be found on the Saint-Denis national monuments Web site.

Following our visit to the exhibition, a reception was held where we spoke with Lamyne, the designer of the gowns. He told me about an African restaurant called Ivoire Gourmand that is roughly ten minutes' walk from the basilica. Tom and I went there for lunch immediately after the reception. I'll tell you all about it in Part 2 of this Art and Food Pairing™ post next week.

Monique and Lamyne M. at reception
© Discover Paris!

For information about Lamyne M., visit his Web site at www.lamyne-m.com

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

What's On in Paris for Black History Month 2016

We are on the eve of Black History Month 2016! Here are a few programs and events that are being offered in Paris (in chronological order). Entry for all events is free.

Evenings with an Author: Linda Hervieux, Forgotten: The Untold Story of D-Day's Black Heroes, at Home and at War


The American Library in Paris has invited journalist and photographer Linda Hervieux to talk about her book about the 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion and their role in the Normandy beach landings during World War II. The event will be held on Tuesday, February 2 at 7:30 PM.

For more information, click HERE.


Beauford Delaney: Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color


This groundbreaking exhibition is being shown from February 4-29, 2016. The vernissage (opening) is scheduled for Wednesday, February 3 at 6 PM. Registration is required.

To access the French-language registration page, click HERE.

To access the English-language registration, click HERE.

For a full schedule of events during the exhibition, click HERE.


Black Man Abroad: The Life and Works of James A. Emanuel


The American Library in Paris is mounting an exhibit in honor of the late poet and Paris expatriate, James A. Emanuel. It will open on Tuesday, February 16 and will run until Sunday, April 3, 2016.

For more information, click HERE.


The Roots of American Music

Nicole Taylor
Image from U.S. Embassy invitation to "The Roots of American Culture"

The U.S. Embassy's Cultural Service is hosting a concert called "The Roots of American Music" at the Hôtel Talleyrand on Wednesday, February 17. Soprano Nicole Taylor will be accompanied by Daniel J. Ernst on piano. Admission is by invitation only.

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

2nd Annual Award Ceremony for the Académie de l'Art Culinaire du Monde Créole - The Winners

In last week's blog post, I shared details about the festivities organized by the Academy of Culinary Art for the Creole World for their second annual award ceremony. Today, I'm presenting the winners!

Trophées de l’Art Culinaire Créole award

Eight prizes were awarded in front of a crowd of ~300 persons.

Trophée “Avenir” (“Future” Trophy): for a young culinary professional who particularly distinguished himself or herself over the course of the last 1-2 years (two prizes were awarded this year)

Trophée d’Honneur (Trophy of Honor): for persons (whether culinary professionals or not) who demystify and passionately promote the recognition of Creole cuisine

Prix de l'Innovation Economique (Economic Innovation Prize): for persons that the jury wishes to honor (students, researchers, farmers, restaurant owners ...) for innovative work which is economic in nature

Prix Spécial du Jury (Jury's Special Prize): for a person that the jury wishes to particularly honor

Trophée Entrepreneurs (Entrepreneur Trophy): for those who respect Creole culinary traditions and promote them through their preparation of traditional, modern, and innovative dishes (this year's award was for traditional cuisine)

Trophée “Littérature Gastronomique” (Gastronomic Literature Trophy): for persons who contribute to the promotion of Créole cuisine through literary works.

Grand Prix de l’Art Culinaire Créole (Grand Prize for Creole Culinary Art): for a person, institution, or geographical entity (city, region…) that has particular distinction in the domain of culinary culture.

The winners (see below) hail from Guadeloupe, Paris / Ile de France, and French Guiana.

Xavier-Guillaume Sivager, winner of the Trophée Avenir, works at Les Jardins du Marais, 74, rue Amelot, 75011 Paris.

Xavier-Guillaume Sivager
Winner of the Trophée Avenir
© Discover Paris!

Jérôme Bertin, winner of one of the Trophées d'Honneur, works at Le Bistrot Pyramide, 20, rue Pyramides, 75001 Paris.

Jérôme Bertin
Winner of one of the Trophées d'Honneur
© Discover Paris!

Sandrine Parfait won the other Trophée d'Honneur for her blog, which is entitled Sandrine Cuisine: Cuisine Antillais et Métissée. Morgan Dorvilma, winner of the 2015 Mr. Ambassad'Or International contest, presented it to her.

Morgan Dolvilma and Sandrine Parfait
Winner of one of the Trophées d'Honneur
© Discover Paris!

The Economic Innovation prize went to Alexe Adélaïde of Guadeloupe. She is the founder of Flocons d'Or - a company that transforms fruits and vegetables such as green bananas, yams, sweet potatoes, and breadfruit into gluten-free, precooked flakes. Her flocons de banane verte (banana flakes) are used as a filling for Chocolats Delgrès, a Guadeloupan brand of chocolates.

Chocolats Delgrès and Flocons d'Or - Breadfruit
© Discover Paris!

Alexe Adélaïde
Winner of the Prix de l'Innovation Economique
© Discover Paris!

Gustave Monpierre, proprietor of the Alfortville restaurant called DouDou Kréyol and chef for the 2015 award ceremony, had the pleasure of announcing that his professor and mentor, Joël Kichenin, won the Jury's Special Prize.

Joël Kichenin and Chef Gustave Monpierre
Winner of the Trophée d'Honneur 2014; Chef for 2015 Ceremony
© Discover Paris!

Joël Kichenin
Winner of the Prix Spécial du Jury
© Discover Paris!

The other laureates are as follows:

Trophée Entrepreneur - Cuisine Traditionnelle
Clotilde GUIOSE (Cayenne, Guiana)

Clotilde Guiose
Winner of the Trophée Entrepreneur for traditional cuisine
© Discover Paris!

Trophée Littérature Gastromique for Le Fruit à Pain dans tous ses États (Breadfruit in all its forms), published by MOUV TROPICAL Éditions in 2015
Eddy BABEL (award accepted by his aunt, Mme Paule LACKLMY)

Paule Lacklmy accepts Trophée Littérature Gastromique
for Eddy Babel
© Discover Paris!

Grand Prix de l’Art Culinaire Créole
Association Gastronomie Guyanaise (Cayenne, Guiana)

From left to right: Minister George Pau-Langevin,
Association President Rosange Lhuerre,
and two additional members of the Association Gastronomie Guyanaise
Winner of the Grand Prix de l’Art Culinaire Créole
© Discover Paris!

After the ceremony, all the laureates returned to the stage for photos.

The winners
© Discover Paris!

Then everyone went back to the reception area to enjoy thick, delicious hot chocolate and brioche.

Hot chocolate and brioche at the bar
© Discover Paris!

It was a superb evening!

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Thursday, January 14, 2016

2nd Annual Award Ceremony for the Académie de l'Art Culinaire du Monde Créole - The Festivities

Last January, I reported on the first award ceremony to celebrate the best of Creole cuisine in the Francophone world. Organized by the Académie de l'Art Culinaire du Monde Créole in December 2014, it was a great step forward in fulfillment of this group's mission to safeguard, promote, and defend Creole gastronomy.

On December 19, 2015, the Academy gathered Creole food lovers at the Espace Reuilly for the second annual Trophées de l’Art Culinaire Créole (Trophies for Creole Culinary Art) award ceremony. This time, I was able to experience it firsthand!

Monique at the 2nd Annual Trophées de l’Art Culinaire Créole ceremony
© Discover Paris!

While we waited to be ushered into the dinner theater, we enjoyed Camille de Riverie Champagne, freshly pressed cane sugar juice, and lovely hors d'oeuvres, including sweet potato mousse and cherry tomatoes dusted with various toppings.

Champagne and cherry tomatoes
© Discover Paris!

Pressing sugar cane
© Discover Paris!

Sweet potato mousse
© Discover Paris!

Once seated, we dined on a sumptuous three-course meal created by Chef Gustave Monpierre, who won the Trophée d'Honneur in 2014. The entrée (first course) consisted of puff pastry shells filled with cod and smoked salmon. This was followed by rack of lamb with passion fruit sauce, baby potatoes, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Dessert consisted of a pineapple-coconut cake roll served with a raspberry sauce. All were divine!

Table #1
© Discover Paris!

Puff pastry shells filled with cod and smoked salmon
© Discover Paris!

Lamb with passion fruit sauce
© Discover Paris!

Pineapple-coconut cake and raspberry sauce
© Discover Paris!

The award ceremony proceeded as we ate. Jimmy Menage, the engaging Master of Ceremonies, kept the spirit of the evening light and festive as various individuals and groups entertained us with song and dance as awards were given.

Jimmy Menage
© Discover Paris!

Performers
Images and collage © Discover Paris!

George Pau-Langevin, France’s Minister of Overseas Territories, was called to the stage to talk about her childhood remembrances of Créole food in Guadeloupe and how she preserves that memory in her household today.

Jimmy Menage interviews Minister George Pau-Langevin
© Discover Paris!

The 2015 award categories are as follows:

Trophée Entrepreneurs: Cuisine Traditionnelle (Entrepreneur Trophy)

Trophée “Avenir” (“Future” Trophy)

Trophée “Littérature Gastronomique” (Gastronomic Literature Trophy)

Prix de l'Innovation Economique (Economic Innovation Prize)

Trophée d’Honneur (Trophy of Honor)

Prix Spécial du Jury (Jury's Special Prize)

Grand Prix de l’Art Culinaire Créole (Grand Prize for Creole Culinary Art)

Ceremony attendees
© Discover Paris!

Next week, I'll present the winners!

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