Corks Were Popped, 'C'est Magnifique!' ExclaimedParties were thrown all over the world on the third Thursday of this month for the traditional uncorking of this year's batch of Beaujolais Nouveau. In Seoul, Air France and Accor Asia Pacific, Asia's largest hotel group, hosted "Le Beaujolais Nouveau Est Arrive!" at the Ambassador Novotel hotel.
Beaujolais Nouveau is a light, fruity and easy-to-drink wine made from the Beaujolais region's fresh gamay grapes, which are pressed after only three days of fermentation. This year's Beaujolais came hued in a deep ruby-red with a hint of sweet berries, making it distinctively delicious.
Befitting the festive tradition, which originated in the bistros of Beaujolais and Lyons, French spirits were high; the hotel's banquet room and halls were decked with the red, blue and white of French flags and posters. Also, the hosts offered something special that made the French crowd turn joyful: a bountiful supply of French cheese － Brie, bleu de Gex, Camembert, and more － served on numerous one-meter-wide platters. "French cheese is all we Frenchmen need, especially in Korea!" exulted Olivier Fraisseix of the French Embassy.
Diplomats, businessmen and other French expats made up most of the more than 400 guests at the bash, who feasted on a buffet dinner elbow to elbow while two chanteuses sang chansons like "Les Champs-Elysees" and "La Fete." For the French, the music goes on as long as the wine and cheese hold out.
by Inēs Cho