French Family Meal Traditions Lunch

French Family Meal Traditions
Monsieur Paul

New this year to Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival is the French Family Meal Traditions Special Event. This lunch is hosted by Eric Weistroffer, manager of the French Pavilion at Epcot, and takes place in the restaurant Monsieur Paul. This premium event is a nice leisurely lunch that lasts from about noon until 3:30pm. The five course meal is accompanied by Eric describing how the meal correlates to the French Family Meal Traditions. I had the opportunity to experience this incredible French meal on the day it started and I highly recommend that you book this special event if you can.

The meal started with an aperitif cocktail and cheese sticks. We were also presented with fresh baked bread and butter which helped to cleanse the palate between courses. The cheese sticks were twists of cheese baked over bread and were crispy on the outside, but nice and soft on the inside. The cocktail we began with was called Cocktail La Presse and was made from Grand Marnier Titanium, lemon juice, simple syrup, raspberries and sparkling wine. It was a light and refreshing drink to start the meal with and just had hints of the orange, lemon and raspberry together.

Cocktail La Presse
Cocktail La Presse
Allumette au fromage
Allumette au fromage

For the traditional French Hors d’Oeurve we sampled a Traditional Quiche Lorraine and a side salad. The quiche was so light and flaky on the outside and inside the eggs, cheese and ham were so perfectly cooked. I am not usually a fan of quiche, but this was simply delightful. The salad was a nice complement to the quiche with a nice vinaigrette dressing. This course was paired with a French Vouvray wine, which was clean and crisp and matched the food amazingly.

Quiche Lorraine
Quiche Lorraine
Side Salad
Side Salad
Inside the quiche
Inside the quiche
Vouvray
Vouvray

The main course, or Plat de resistance, was a phenomenal white veal ragout served with rice, carrots, mushrooms and baby onions. I do not care for veal, but I tried it for the sake of being adventurous. This course was my favorite and I was pleasantly surprised. The white wine in the ragout was a nice balance to the vegetables. I especially enjoyed dipping my bread in the sauce along with the mushrooms and rice. What would appear to be a very heavy course was beautifully balanced. With this course, they served a red Chinon wine, which I found a little Earthy for my taste, but paired well with the entree.

White veal ragout
White veal ragout
Ragout with rice
Ragout with rice

One of the things I enjoyed most about this meal, aside from the food of course, was that it was a nice slow pace. We had time to talk with the other guests at our table and it felt much like you were sitting around a family table sharing a meal. At one point, Eric even slowed down the servers because he felt that we needed a bit more time in between courses to enjoy the conversation and to digest. This was perfect because I never felt over satiated during the meal, just sated. It was a fantastic to embrace the French way of enjoying a meal and to slow down and appreciate the surroundings.

Eric explaining how nice it is to slow down
Eric explaining how nice it is to slow down

The cheese course was next, with a nice Brie, walnuts, grapes, and more freshly baked bread. The Bordeaux that was paired with this course was very nice and a bit more fruity and full bodied than what I traditionally expect from most Bordeaux.

Cheese plate
Cheese plate

Dessert was a presentation to be seen and tasted just a fabulous as it looked. The light almond macaron, with bitter chocolate mousse, vanilla and chocolate sauces, and hazelnut ice cream was awesome! The sparkling white wine served with it was a JCB  21, and was a slightly dry wine, which I really liked. The dessert macaron was flaky and soft, not the more dense and hard macaron that I am used to, but it was very good. It was a bit rich, but the flavors melded together so well.

Almond macaron
Almond macaron
Inside the macaron
Inside the macaron
Sparkling wine
Sparkling wine

All in all this was a fantastic French meal between the fantastic setting with the view of World Showcase Lagoon below, to the impeccable service, wonderful food with wine pairings, and the great conversations with new friends. The lunch is still available for booking over the next few weeks of the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot. The French Family Meal Traditions special event takes place on Friday and Sunday afternoons from now until November 15th, 2015. The cost is $95 plus tax per person including alcohol for those 21 and up. I will say when I first saw the price I was a bit skeptical, but having been now, I would have easily paid almost double that at many restaurants. The alcohol cost alone makes up more than half to two thirds of the cost if you were purchasing the drinks separately. For a five course meal with drinks included, this is really a good value for all that you are getting.

Monsieur Paul lobby
Monsieur Paul lobby
Place setting
Place setting
Monsieur Paul dining room
Monsieur Paul dining room
View of World Showcase Lagoon
View of World Showcase Lagoon

If you have a few hours available to enjoy this or one of several of the other premium special events during Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival, I recommend that you book sooner rather than later as many of these events are filling up as word gets out as to how great they are. As of the time of writing this, there are still spots available for the French Family Meal Traditions as well as special events in Mexico, Italy, and Morocco. Please call 407-939-3378 for more information or availability and pricing.

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