A taste of France

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The French Wine & Food Fair took place at the Hotel Equatorial in Ho Chi Minh City on October 22 and 23.

The event was organized by Sopexa and celebrated food and wine from seven regions in France including Rhone, Alsace, Loire, Burgundy, Champagne and Bordeaux.

"French food and wine conjures up images of luxury and expense. But with this event, we wanted to promote French food as something simple you can share with friends over a smile and a laugh," said Gregoire Debre, director of Sopexa Southeast Asia and Taiwan.

In the festive atmosphere created by the French band, Bigot Swing, the cavernous hotel banquet hall filled with a bustling crowd, wobbling from food to drink tables exchanging tickets for generous plates of food and glasses of wine.

"I came with friends to enjoy the moment," said Mr. Benoit Demazure, a French citizen from Strasbourg who said he had a good time at the event. "The food here is standard fare in France."

Still, a couple of Vietnamese patrons managed to tilt up their noses, slightly, at the offerings.

While Demazure liked the idea of everyday French cuisine, Nguyen Thuy Tram, a Vietnamese American music teacher said she was hoping for something a bit more refined. "I would have liked to eat something different than everyday French food."

Amid the loud bawdy music and frenetic crowd, Nguyen Ngoc Phuong, a marketing employee from Parkson shopping mall said she wished the pairings had been worked out by a sommelier.

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