Celebrate all things French this Bastille Day!

Those in our community who celebrate French culture know that Bastille Day is here on July 14. This historic day (July 14, 1789) marks the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille and the beginning of the French Revolution.

To celebrate the day, usually falling on the Sunday closest to July 14, the French enjoy bountiful picnics with family and friends, as well as military parades and fireworks, with plenty of red, white, and blue, the colors of the French flag. In Paris and other larger cities, celebrations can also include street fairs, music, dance events (even the cancan!), outdoor and rooftop parties, and a world of entertainment for a whole family.

Here in Sonoma County, we are blessed to share many commonalities with France, including our food and wine culture and our Mediterranean climate. We also have a very active French community and a local chapter of Alliance Francaise offering French classes and even a special Bastille Day celebration of their own!

In a year where many are seeking healthy diversions from the news, why not add a little French culture to your life and celebrate Bastille Day this year? We’ve gathered some of our favorite French wines and cheeses from across our stores to make it easy to throw a Sonoma County-style Bastille Day picnic.

As is often the case at Oliver’s, we have many prepared French delights available, making it easy to assemble a beautiful pique-nique or casual meal, or you can create your own with this collection of enticing recipes.

Fresh from the oven Gougeres au Fromage make any occasion more festive, and they are a perfect match for Champagne. Next, check out this Classic Quiche Lorraine or Summer French Tomato Tart, or create these French Baguette Sandwiches for a main course. Add a simple green salad, a tasty bottle of French wine (or two!), and perhaps a Baguette, and you are set. Pick up a beautiful tart or cake, or an assortment of Macarons and other smaller bites, add some fresh fruit, and the meal is complete.

This week at Oliver’s (July 12-18, 2023), we are featuring some of our favorite French wines and cheeses to make your planning just a little easier.

Perhaps you will want to give one (or two!) of these delicious wines a try:

  • Ronsard Sparkling Touraine Brut Rosé, $14.99
  • Delas “Saint-Espirit Côtes-du-Rhône” – 2020, France, $10.99
  • Domaine de Montine Gourmanise Blanc – 2021, Rhone Valley, France, $11.99
  • Chateau Grand Boise Rose – 2022, Provence, France, $19.99

And now for the cheeses, Oliver’s Gourmet Cheese Coordinator Wade Johnson has pulled together this collection of customer favorites, perfect for your next picnic or cheese tray!

  • Brillat-Savarin, $19.99/lb.
    • By adding cream to whole milk during the cheesemaking process, Brillat-Savarin boasts a decadent creamy texture, and a delightfully rich flavor profile with hints of mushroom imparted from the delicate, snowy bloomy rind. Celebrate Bastille Day with this phenomenal French triple cream brie and the perfect companion, a bottle of champagne.
  • Isigny Sainte-Mère Mimolette, $21.99/lb.
    • Isigny Sainte-Mère’s Mimolette is a stunning French cheese with a vibrant orange paste and a rustic natural brown rind. Aged in special cellars for 18 months, harmless cheese mites gently nibble on the exterior of the rind allowing the cheese to aerate, leading to unique depths of flavor otherwise unachievable. The paste is strikingly orange and will surely add a beautiful visual presence to any cheeseboard. The texture is dry, yet surprisingly creamy on the palate and the flavors include salty notes, a well-rounded sweetness, and nuances of caramel throughout.
  • Gabriel Coulet Roquefort, $21.99/lb.
    • Made in southern France and perhaps one of the most iconic French cheeses, Roquefort is made with raw sheep’s milk, has a distinctive bright tanginess, a soft creamy texture, and gorgeous blue veining throughout every single wedge.
  • Secret de Compostelle, $21.99/lb.
    • This Basque cheese hails from high in the Pyrenees Mountains. The texture is delightfully smooth and has a well-balanced flavor profile of hazelnut, and hints of sweetness throughout. Secret de Compostelle makes a perfect addition Bastille Day themed cheese line-up.

In whatever way you choose to celebrate Bastille Day, we say “Bonne Fête Nationale!”

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