An Eiffel Tower Amongst Skyscrapers
By Miguel Gallardo
On September 28-29th the non-profit Taste of France organized a showcase of French culture in Bryant Park. The free event featured food vendors, French products and performances.
Although the French have traded the franc for the euro, the currency used to sample fromage and charcuterie at the event was called a “Marianne,” named after the emblem of France. Event attendees could exchange one American dollar for one Marianne.
For just a few Mariannes, visitors could choose from a variety of crepes from Jeanne & Gaston, cheesecake from La Cheesecakerie, or macaroons from Macaron Café and MadMac Macaron. For five Mariannes they could taste some of the 100 wines selected by top New York sommeliers.
Président, maker of cheese and butter, was one of the many sponsors of the event. Several French artists in an air-conditioned bubble sculpted the Eiffel Tower with Président butter.
“The idea was for the people that attend the event to have a better understanding of a great country with a vast history and rich culture,” said Karen Danick, director of media relations for Taste of France.
Other weekend festivities included live French music, a French bulldog show, book signing with French best-selling author Marc Levy, live perfume creation by Michel Mane, an art contest, treasure hunt, and French lessons for children.
“The festival opened my eyes to their influence in leisure, food, and aviation,” said Ana Acevedo, a New York college student. “It also amazed me to watch the man create and distill the perfume in person. I left having a better appreciation for the French. Living in New York for so long I’ve seen Little Italy, Colombia and many more. But I’ve never seen a little France.”
Any Mariannes not used in the event could be donated to Action Against Hunger, an international humanitarian organization committed to ending world hunger. According to statistics provided by the organization, in 2012 the group treated 42,000 severely malnourished children in D.R Congo. Thus, while New Yorkers and tourists were spending a few dollars on French wine, they were actually helping the lives of many less fortunate.