March 23, 2018, La Grand Fete, sponsored by Smithsonian at 8, celebrates the tail-end of DC’s Francophone festival by having 30 embassies provide food, drink, and culture to worldly D.C denizens at La Maison Francaise at the Embassy of France. Music was provided by DJ Princess Slaya, who spun songs from around the world.
Tickets were sold for $40. Because this event sold out, no tickets were sold at the door. Tortoise & Hare Bar and Grille were open throughout the night, offering a bevy of beverages such as cocktails, international beers, and wine. Street parking was limited on Reservoir Road, around La Maison Francaise, and several attendees also used public garages available at Georgetown University Hospital.
Traffic was congested from my end. It took me around and hour and twenty minutes to get to this party. I was overjoyed that I didn’t have to wait in a long line since the weather was pretty frigid that day. Due to time and my commute, I was short on time. So I wore a basic, black dress with a scoop neck from White House Black Market, a turquoise tank from The Limited, and a gold colored leather satchel.
When I went through security, I asked the girls in the front what they recommended. Three of them highly recommended the Belgian waffles, French Wines, and Quebec Cotton Candy. As I walked up and entered the embassy, I noticed that the coat racks were packed. Attendance was really high this year.
Women wore the latest in D.C and European fashion, and men wore business casual slacks and shirts. The dance area had various shapes of white balloons bobbing and floating along the ceiling; dancers partied to top 40 U.S, French, and Caribbean hits; and plates of international fare made various appearances across the venue.
From the corner of my eye, I noticed a really long line by the Embassy of Haiti table. When I walked closer, I could easily see what enticed the ravenous, or shall I say, thirst-driven crowd: an endless supply of rum. Haiti is famous for this libation, and I can easily see why. It was worth the wait, since I wanted seconds myself.
More of the European-based countries had fine wine and beer tastings. For instance, Switzerland featured their White Wine titled Fendant Treize etoiles AOC 2015. This was a French port that originated from Martigny, Valais. The most popular beer that night was from Belgium. This thirst-quenching ale attracted a flock, and almost impenetrable crowd, that made it it difficult for me to grab my own sample. In the classiest fashion, I savored each drop since I do crave European beers from time to time.
Along with imbibing liquors, I did get a chance to snack. Quebec had outstanding maple syrup candy, and equally outstanding maple syrup flavored cotton candy. Benin, Ivory Coast, Gabon, and Burkina Faso had outstanding African dishes such as curries, veggies, and fish platters. Serbia had delicious bread in the shape of a circuitous cross. Romania, Armenia, Monaco, and several other french-inspired countries also had delicious fare that gravitated a hungry crowd. After sampling my fair share, I made a quick visit to the Embassy of Cote de Voire (Ivory Coast) and saw some old friends from way back when.
Counrties, like the Ivory Coast, are primarily connected through the French language. Since different regions have various ethnic identities, languages, and customs, the French language unites the country and bridges strong communication.
Speaking of France, I was hankering for some red wine from burgundy, beef bourguinon, and some canales. La Grand fete isn’t La Grand Fete without a visit to the motherland. I so had my fill and then some.
And my last but best stop, was the Embassy of Georgia!
I learned so much about this country in my short visit. Did you know that men wear Chokha, an iconic piece coat made of wool, with long sleeves, laps, hugged with a belt with a stilleto on it? A native citizen of Georgia can always tell a man’s place in society based on the color chokha he wears.
Did you also know that traditional Georgian women’s clothing has often been deemed as being luxuriously beautiful? Women wear a long dress called a kartuli, which is snuggly belted, with a fancy bodice and long laps. Special attention is always placed on the headdress, which consists of a thing, white veil; a thin bolster made of silk, and a large, calico, veil that covers the body minus the face.
The wine industry has a boon in Georgia. The Wall Street Journal (2016) has remarked that Georgia could be a great “Wine Destination” due to the earthy mode of creating these wines. Kahketi, is a province on the foothills of the caucaus mountains that has renown chacha, a grape-skin liquor reminiscent of moonshine; Qveri white wine, which has a sharp taste, and a deep hue color; and Shavi Gvino, a red so dark that it’s known as a black wine.
The Embassy of Georgia had a grand presentation of wine tastings, literature, folks dressed in traditional garb and with a flash mob led by Mamuka Gogiberidze, Dachi Chalabashvili, Lady Vanessa Reyes, Gvantsa Gogiberidze, Tako Rakviashvili, Beka Adamashvili, Gvantsa Turashvili, Tamta Revazishvili, and Tamar Zedelashvili.
This was the big talk of La Grand Fete. Several kids practiced on their routine, and pulled this difficult feat in front of a packed audience. I had a wonderful time learning more about the culture and meeting people from the Embassy! Such an amazing group of people!
If you want to learn more about this fabulous culture and party all night, click here to purchase tickets to their big shin-dig held at the Georgian Cultural Center April 5, 2018. There will be an inclusive wine tasting, a stand up comedian, art exhibition, food, folk music and your chance to see the famous flash mob perform their routine!
Tune into Sharing the Details for special coverage of the Embassy of Georgia party, April 5, 2018!