French fest to offer a gastronomy walk through France in Saigon

By Thao Vi, Thanh Nien News

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Emmanuel Ly-Batallan, Consul General of France in Ho Chi Minh City, introduces Balade en France at a press briefing on October 6, 2015. Photo: Thao Vi Emmanuel Ly-Batallan, Consul General of France in Ho Chi Minh City, introduces Balade en France at a press briefing on October 6, 2015. Photo: Thao Vi

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The annual Balade en France, the biggest French food and wine festival in Ho Chi Minh City, will take place at the Hotel Equatorial on October 23 and 24, organizers said Tuesday.
Balade en France (Ride in France), which aims to promote French gastronomy, culture and music, has been welcomed by Vietnamese guests for the past five editions because French and Vietnamese gastronomy have some connections,” Emmanuel Ly-Batallan, Consul General of France in HCMC, told a press briefing on Tuesday.
“Last year the festival attracted 1,750 guests with 70 percent being Vietnamese. We expect this year’s event to welcome around 2,000 people,” he said.
This year organizers will offer package tickets that grant guests access to the event to enjoy a number of entertainment activities and 10 coupons worth VND20,000 (US$0.9) each.
The coupons can be exchanged for food, beverage and desserts. The price of each product will vary from VND20,000 to VND80,000. Guests can buy more coupons at sales points at the two-night event.
Three Vietnam-based French bands -- The blues Buddies, Gwenilli, and Peche à la mouche -- will perform on stage while several magicians will walk through the room and entertain guests with their tricks.
The festival also includes a lucky draw with souvenirs, a photo booth, a wine tasting workshop with a sommelier, the presence of several cartoonists, a painter’s live show and games in the kids corner.
Package tickets cost VND350,000 ($16) if buying in advance and VND450,000 ($20) on the day of the event. The package ticket for children under 14, which consists of entrance access and six coupons, costs VND200,000 ($9). Children under five get free entrance.
Money collected from games in the kids corner will be used by Poussiere de vie, an independent charity organization, to help the disadvantaged children in Vietnam.
Tickets can be found at the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIFV) in Vietnam (5B Ton Duc Thang Street, District 1), Hotel Equatorial (242 Tran Binh Trong Street, District 5), and Air France agents.
Balade en France will be held from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on October 23 and 24 by the CCIFV, Sopexa (French organization to promote French products), and Hotel Equatorial with the support of the French Consulate in Vietnam and the French Ministry of Agriculture.

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