On June 30, community 450th volunteer Joanelle Mulrain hosted the Laudonniere Luncheon, a celebration of the sesquiquadricentennial (450th, if that’s too much) anniversary of French history in Florida. Specifically, 2014 is the 450th anniversary of Fort Caroline, the first colony in what we now know as America—61 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth.
The luncheon was appropriately held at Restaurant Orsay and attended by His Excellency Philippe Letrilliart, consulate general of France, visiting from Miami; Francois Kloc, honorary consul of France (a Beaches resident); Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner and many more notables.
Also Skyped in to the luncheon were Christophe de Goulaine, of Chateau de Goulaine (a direct descendent of French Huguenot Captain Rene Goulaine de Laudonniere); Gaeten Ribault de Laugardiere (direct descendant of French Huguenot Captain Jean Ribault); Gerard Richard, Ambassador of the Order of Chevaliers Bretvins (Nantes, France); Mariette Cassourret, President of Nantes-Jacksonville-Seattle Sister Cities (Nantes, France); Christine Renard, City Director, Nantes (Mairie de Nantes); and Jacksonville’s Jenn Chase, Playwright/producer/director of La Caroline.
Muscadet wine from Chateau de Golaine, one of the oldest businesses in the world, was served alongside appetizers such as haricot vert salad, mushroom bisque and pate de campagne; entrees including Black Hog Farm chicken “coq au vin,” crevettes et le grauau de mais sucre, trout almandine and 450th cassoulet (Duck leg confit, braised white beans, Eden Farms bacon, roasted port and Andouille sausage); and desserts featuring creme brulee and chocolate cremeux.