Bastille Day: Honour your inner Alain Ducasse and cook up a French feast

Louise Whitbread
Whether you're a wine or cheese-lover, celebrate in style with classic French foods: Walt Disney Pictures

The 14 July marks Bastille Day, an annual French holiday that celebrates the storming of Bastille, a military fortress in 1789 by angry Parisian crowds, that played an important part in the revolution.

Each year it's celebrated with parties, fireworks and parades, and if you want to observe the holiday, we’ve got you covered.

While we wouldn’t advise a party due to the pandemic, we have however found the best of French food and drink for you to celebrate with a dinner party, at a picnic or even on your own.

From fine wines to fancy desserts, here’s who we’ll be celebrating Bastille Day this year.

You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn a commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

Wine

When it comes to wine, you’ll find us in the South of France, sipping on a Côtes de Provence rosé.

The pale pink tipple uses grenache as the dominant grape with notes of cinsault, syrah and carignan and perhaps a dash of mourvèdre or rolle.

In our guide to the best Côtes de Provence rosés, we loved L'Hydropathe élite rosé Sainte Victoire domaine de diables 2019 (Lea & Sandeman, £19.95) made in vineyards owned and run by Guillaume and Virginie Philip at the foot of Mont Saint-Victoire.

Kick back and relax with a glass of this fruity rosé (Lea & Sandeman)

Our reviewer described it as “complex and structured with a cascade of intense red fruit, peach and strawberry flavours with floral and herb notes.”

It’s made with a sustainable, eco-friendly approach too, harvesting grapes at night or early in the morning so as to save energy and protect from oxidation with dry ice, reducing the need for added sulphites.

If you prefer a bottle of white, try the M&S macon villages (Marks & Spencer, from £9 a bottle).

This affordable white wine shows don't need to spend a lot to enjoy fine wine (Marks & Spencer)

“It hasn’t spent any time in oak, which will really appeal to those that prefer their chardonnay fresher and fruitier,” said our reviewer.

With notes of lemon zest, creamy white peach and a hint of nuttiness, we’d pair this with creamy chicken pasta or chicken and leek pie.

This Domaine Louis Claude desvignes morgon, la voûte Saint-Vincent (Berry Bros & Rudd, £19.95) also comes highly rated from our guide to the 20 best wines made by women.

For a full-bodied red, try a bottle of this Domaine Louis Claude desvignes morgon, la voûte Saint-Vincent (Berry Bros & Rudd)

We found this red wine#, which is organic, had real depth, thanks to the ripped fruit harvested using organic farming. Pour a glass at your next Sunday lunch.

Cheese

From brie to camembert, the French know their cheeses. If you’re looking to expand your palette, sign up to a subscription box, that will deliver a hand-picked selection to your door every month.

We were impressed with the Pong Cheese the cheese club (Pong Cheese, from £22 a month) that features four complementing varieties, with full tasting notes for the perfect cheeseboard.

Tuck into a delicious cheese board with a subscription kit that delivers a selection of the best to your doorstep (Pong Cheese)

We tried the premium box – which costs an additional £7 – and received blur bassist Alex James’ tangy cheddar, a soft creamy Sussex slipcote flavoured with dill, an award-winning northern blue from Italy, a brandy washed petit gaugry from Bourgogne, France, and lastly a deliciously delicate brie-style ewe’s milk cheese from artisan Welsh cheesemakers Caws Cenarth.

If you love the classic cheeses, try this classic French cheese box (Fortnum & Mason £40) which will have all your favourites.

Treat yourself to this lavish line-up of French cheeses (Fortnum & Mason)

Feast on camembert from Normandy, a Comte hard cheese, fourme d’ambert, crottine, a soft goat’s cheese and a blue cheese.

Slather on crackers or layer in chutney, however you like to eat yours, this is an indulgent treat.

Macarons

The meringue-based confectionery, macarons, are synonymous with France and are a sweet treat you can enjoy anytime.

They also make gorgeous gifts such as this Napoléon III gift box (Ladurée, £21.50) that you can enjoy yourself or give to someone else.

Keep for yourself or gift this to a friend, either way, we guarantee they'll be enjoyed (Ladurée)

You can handpick eight macarons and the flavours range from pistachio to orange blossom to caramel banana.

Cookbooks

If you want to master the art of French cooking but are limited on space or don’t want to be burdened with recipes that will take hours, pick up a copy of The Little Paris Kitchen: Classic French recipes with a fresh and fun approach by Rachel Khoo (Amazon, £14.95).

Whip up a modern French feast with this easy-to-follow cookbook (Amazon)

There are 120 recipes to work your way through, guided by Khoo whose credentials include Le Cordon Bleu, the world-famous cookery school.

Choose from a classic boeuf bourguignon or onion soup to a Provencal lavender and lemon roast chicken that’s a great introduction to the cuisine and will impress your next dinner guests.

Cooking School: Mastering classic and modern French cuisine by Alain Ducasse (Amazon, £9.52) is also a great read, as the Michelin star chef provides detailed step-by-step guides to creating everything from confectionery to pastries.

Expand your culinary repertoire with this guide to French cooking (Amazon)

With recipes, ingredients and techniques bound in this bookshelf essential, forget going to a restaurant, we’ll be polishing off our dishes at home.

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