Tue | Jul 7, 2015

A fabulous French affair

Published:Sunday | December 1, 2013
French Ambassador Ginette de Matha (left) has the full attention of Godelieve Van den Bergh, Belgium ambassador, as they share in a candid moment.
While sipping on their vino of choice, these three ladies, (from left) Karlene Lemaire, Trudy Belnavis, and Trudy Francis, share a few laughs.
Dr Fritz Pinnock (left) exchanges a few words with Leo Nesbeth who is all ears during their brief chat at the French reception two Thursdays ago. - Photos by Winston Sill/Freelance Photographer
(From left) Nigel Silvera joins hostess for the evening French Ambassador Ginette de Matha, with Andrea Stephenson and Paula Duncan, for a quick snapshot. - Winston Sill/Freelance Photographer
Atorney-at-law and daughter of Kia Motors CEO Sright Moore, Shari Moore was pretty i pink.
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Chester Francis-Jackson, Contributor

Luvs, the festive season is indeed upon us and what better way to celebrate than with a glass or two - or even three or four - of vino? And it being that time of the year, the third Thursday in November, what better wine to raise a toast with than the celebrated Beaujolais Nouveau, if you are the French ambassador to Jamaica, as is the case with Her Excellency Madame Ginette de Matha; and on the eve of the celebration of the relaunch of the once much-celebrated and anticipated annual French showcase, 'A Touch of France!'

Dubbed the Thanksgiving Day for wine lovers by commentators, the celebration of the Beaujolais Nouveau is one of the fashionable accidents of history that has taken on a marketing life of its own and is now part and parcel of international wine culture!

Curiously, it was once thought that, in order for red wine to be truly appreciated and enjoyed, it first had to be aged to perfection before being consumed. With the Beaujolais Nouveau, that changed, as here was a young wine being promoted and
enjoyed for what it was - the first harvest of the Gamay grapes, bottled
and released internationally, with much fanfare and hoopla, on the
third Thursday of November, to wine lovers around the globe and, thus,
creating a new and very fashionable sense of occasion to the
French.

And so it was, my dears, that Jamaica, too,
became part and parcel of the international celebrations surrounding
Beaujolais Nouveau Day as wine lovers and oenophiles everywhere join in
the celebratory drinking of Beaujolais Nouveau, across the globe, taking
their cue, of course, from Paris, when the festivities would commence -
just after midnight.

Well, my dears, French
Ambassador Her Excellency Ginette de Matha is as charming a French envoy
as she is the consummate host. And, on the occasion of Beaujolais
Nouveau Day, she invited a shortlist of friends and French nationals to
her official residence, in the ritzy Golden Triangle neighbourhood on
Hillcrest Avenue, to celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau
Day.

This year, Beaujolais Nouveau is one
fabulous-tasting wine - full with the vibrancy of its youth, it is easy
on the palate and easier on the senses, as it is as cordial as it is
inviting to the taste. And accompanied as it was by a fine selection of
French cheeses, cutlets, crackers, and other finger foods, you know we
are talking an elegant outing here for the Beaujolais Nouveau
2013.

SPECIAL OCCASION

The
shortlisted guests who gathered at the ambassador's home were wine
lovers for the most part, and this made the occasion that much more
special. But, coming as it was on the eve of the official relaunching of
what was once the region's premier French trade and fashion showcase,
this year's Beaujolais Nouveau Day was made that much more special, as
it had a number of visiting officials from the French Caribbean
territories, adding an extra oomph to what was, in essence, a truly
cosmopolitan outing!

And with the contemporary musical
ensemble Black Zebra providing musical entertainment and a repertoire
as fashionable as the evening, y'all know we are talking a simply
charming event here - and of the fabulous order!

And
the fabuloucracy was out too, as spotted out sharing in the occasion
were: Paul Robotham, permanent secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
Ambassador Elinor Felix, chief of state protocol, Office of the Prime
Minister; The Hon Oliver Clarke, chairman of The Gleaner Company Ltd;
British High Commissioner David Fitton and wife, Hisae Fitton; Belgian
Ambassador Godelieve Van den Bergh; Mexican Ambassador Gerardo Lozano
Arredondo and his wife, Moriza; Helen Hagen Larsen, wife of the
ambassador of Argentina; Jesús Orus Baguena, deputy head of delegation,
Delegation of the European Union; Arun Kashyap, UNDP representative;
Michael Dumke, first counsellor, Embassy of the Federal Republic of
Germany; Dr Fritz Pinnock, executive director, Caribbean Maritime
Institute; Etienne André, managing director of Vinci Construction Grands
Projets; Paula Duncan and Andrea Stephenson representing Total Jamaica
Limited; John Valentine for Jamaica Aggregates; Captain Michael Lyn and
wife, Thalia; Dr Dhiru and Dr Laura Tanna; Capt David McRae; E.G. Hunter
and his lovely wife, attorney-at-law Nesta-Claire Hunter; Catherine
Handa; Dwight Moore of Kia Motors and his daughter, attorney-at-law, the
fabulous Shari Moore; Pierre and Karlene Lemaire; the lovely Suzanne
Constantine; wine buff, the fab Raihn Sibbles; Leopold Nesbeth, general
manager, CMA CGM Jamaica Ltd; Christiane Mage, president of the
Cooperation Commission and European Affairs at the regional Council of
Martinique; Eliette Lesuperbe, Guadeloupian fashion designer; French
embassy official, the charming Salima Amirally; and the dapper Alex
Reid; plus a number of others.

Indeed, my dears, it
was an absolutely fabulous opening for what proved a weekend that was
truly one of France's finest 'heures' here in the
capital of the Caribbean. Following up on the fabulously successful
celebration of Beaujolais Nouveau, it was on to The Jamaica Pegasus
hotel on Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the Touch of France showcase,
which was as spectacular as it was a gold mine of
opportunities!

Photos by Winston
Sill/Freelance Photographer