As 2020 draws to a close, we review some of the highlights from the challenging year.
Back in January, it was all about the galette des rois, and where to find it – in fact many of you have already been looking at previous years’ articles to find out where – patience, the 2021 Galette des Rois article will be live in a few days. Make sure you’ve subscribed (link at the bottom of this article) to get an email as soon as the article goes live.
While bushfires ravaged much of the East coast, we let you know how you could support the firies and the communities burned down via French businesses in Australia who were donating part profits to them.
In February, focus moved to Adelaide as it turned its festival city charm on. Our article about the 24 French related shows at Adelaide Fringe and our interviews with Christrophe Bricheteau from Compagnie Carabosse who was bringing their fiery show to Adelaide Festival and Julie Tenret from Cie Focus about her climate-change themed Adelaide Festival show, Dimanche. Highlight shows at the Adelaide Fringe included Josephine, a stellar one-woman show about Josephine Baker and I’ll Tell you this for nothing: my mother the war hero.
Also in February, we got a sneak peek of the Alliance Française French Film Festival program for 2020. The 2021 program will be released and on sale on 3 February but you can already watch the trailer for it here:
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March saw Adelaide Festival and WOMADelaide come to Adelaide and our last weekend of normality before COVID restrictions came in later that month. Our relationship with fire changed from one of fear and hatred given the devastating bush fires Australia had suffered over the previous months, to one of beauty via Compagnie Carabosse’s Fire Gardens in the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide.
In April, as we all found ourselves unable to dine out or see live performance, focus turned to 20 ways to get some French culture in isolation and how to support French business in Australia. And of course food – how could you get your French food fix in isolation?
In May, as we still found ourselves glued to screens at home, ways to watch French film from last year’s AFFFF for free at home became a popular topic. Some film festivals went online, including We Are One: A Global Film Festival. Wine consumption was also rising so it was timely to discover some French wine importers in Australia to support.
June saw a very different Canada Day to previous iterations and more interest in film (Sydney Film Festival Selects – the Festival’s picks from SBS on Demand) and YouTube’s We Are One Global Film Festival. Wine continued to be popular with Chenin and Rosé Days taking place in June.
July is the month of many of the national days but celebrations were largely online or in small groups for Bastille Day, the Swiss National Day and the Belgian National Day. Adelaide’s Parisian art-deco inspired Playford Hotel introduced its Playford Feast. The Alliance Française French Film Festival kicked off in most of the cities but as poor Melbourne went into lockdown, we looked for ways for them to enjoy some of the films from home. As most of us put on the COVID kilos, World Chocolate Day saw us take a sugar hit.
August saw the Melbourne International Film Festival go online and enjoyed all around Australia. And French wine and French food takeaway and delivery surged in Victoria.
In September, Le Marché Willoughby kicked off its twice monthly French market with a lot of interest. Wine was also the order of the day, this time with Grenache Day. Brisbane International Film Festival also kicked off – for many their first time in cinemas in months.
October was a boozy month as we turned to champagne to celebrate Champagne Day and shared quotes, champagne facts and champagne recommendations. We also celebrated vodka and a lesser-known wine varietal, carignan for their international days. Brisbane also held a COVID-safe version of the C’est La Vie festival over several weekends.
In November, we would normally celebrate the Beaujolais Nouveau but as COVID impacted flight frequency and freight costs, the 2020 Beaujolais Nouveau was hard to source. Starting to look towards the end of this terrible year, interest turned to counting down the days (‘til Christmas) with a French advent calendar. We introduced you to Daniel Airoldi of Airoldi Fine Wines and told you all about merlot and the lesser known carménère as their international days came around.
For December, it was all about Christmas and the Buche de Noel was front of mind. And for some, attention was already turning to the Galette des Rois again! You wanted to know about French Christmas gift ideas and champagne recommendations for Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
And just like that, this year is almost over! How are you celebrating the ringing in of 2021? What have been your highlights from this difficult year?