This weekend, the flavors of France are coming to Richmond, Virginia. The RVA French Food Festival will be held on April 26 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and April 27 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The festival, which is located at 1503 Michaels Road in Henrico, is sponsored by Page Auto Group and other local businesses.
The festival will feature menu selections from nine chefs and students from Stratford University, according to its website.
“When you come to the French Food Festival, you’re not just getting a generic freezer meal warmed up and served at a festival setting," according to the event website, "you are getting dishes made from fresh, locally sourced ingredients handcrafted by some of Richmond’s best culinary talent.”
The prices of the dishes range from $1 for foods such as hot dogs to $12 for “Chef Paul’s signature authentic French entrees."
Customers will find traditional French dishes such as coq au vin and ratatouille. The former, which can be a more expensive dish on a French restaurant menu, is priced at $12. But Southern and French fusion dishes, such as shrimp and grits in “Louisiana gravy” for $10, are also being offered.
Vegan, gluten free and vegetarian options will be offered, such as Chef Michael’s vegan ratatouille.
Other menus include classics from croissants to pomme frites (French fries) to crepes.
A wine selection will be offered by the glass and bottle. Beer options will also be provided.
French desserts such as cream puffs and crème brûlée will be sold as well.
The festival began in 2009 as a way to fundraise for local charity Little Sisters of the Poor, which serves Virginia's elderly poor, according to the festival website. The charity, the website states, has its origin in France.
Some University of Richmond students have plans to attend the festival. For junior Payton Kiel, the festival is a way to continue her French studies.
“I think, for me, having taken French classes, this festival is really fun," Kiel said. "I’m excited to go and try the different [food] options."
But the food is not all the festival offers.
For entertainment, nine different performers will take to the stage throughout the weekend, including Jonathan the Juggler, RVA Smooth Sax and Django Tango, according to the festival website.
The festival also hosts a marketplace. The lineup of 20 local vendors features a great range of wares. Tilley’s Favorite Dog Biscuits, several clothing pop-ups and jewelers are among the options.
For junior Tilley Neuhoff, the festival’s array of offerings is particularly interesting.
“I’m excited to try the different foods, but also go to the marketplace they have,” Neuhoff said. “I’m not a French student and haven’t been to a French festival, so I’m excited to see what it’s like. The menu looks really good.”
Kiel agreed: "The music and food all look great. It’ll be fun to walk around and hear the music. I’ve learned a lot about French culture the past couple years in the classroom. I’m excited to see it out of class."
For junior Emily Routman, who studied abroad in Paris, the festival is a way to re-immerse herself in French culture.
“I loved going abroad in Paris,” Routman said. “I’m excited to eat those foods again and be in that culture again.”
The event is free to attend. It is encouraged that festival-goers give a $2 donation to Little Sisters of the Poor.
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