A magnifique taste of things French | Canberra CityNews

A magnifique taste of things French | Canberra CityNews

“Close your eyes and let yourself be transported to France, with its incredibly rich culture that adores connecting food,” people and place,” writes dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON

Wendy Johnson.

IT’S not a restaurant. It’s not a café. It’s a wine outlet where you can buy French wines to sip on site with wonderful cheeses, olives, pates, dry-cured sausages, rillettes and more.

French Flair la Boutique in Manuka imports exclusive wines, ciders, spirits and liquors. Since 2009, they’ve also been importing quality products from France and reputable Australian small producers who create with passion, pride and a blend of traditional practices and new technologies. These artisan products are lovingly made with the highest quality ingredients.

Supplying some of Canberra’s best restaurants, bars and retailers is a focus at French Flair, but so too is providing locals and visitors with an opportunity to sit outdoors in protected Palmerston Lane, around small tables and on bench seats with scattered, brightly coloured pillows.

High-quality and interesting wines – each with their own story – are sourced from regions such as Champagne, Beaujolais, Bordeau, Loire Valley, Provence, Rhone Valley and Savoie (check out the detailed map displayed). 

French Flair holds periodic tastings sharing in-depth knowledge. Or you can buy a bottle (no mark-up), select some food and enjoy on site, which is precisely what we did.

We can vouch for all the rillettes and on one visit shared the decadent duck variety ($16) by Les Deux Cogs (Two Roosters), which specialises in French charcuterie smallgoods. Absolutely sensational, these rillettes are made in Adelaide with French savoir-faire and they’re free of artificial colours, preservatives and additives. All rillettes, including the roast chicken and pork varieties are rich, decadent and inviting. 

Also divine was the signature, smooth and delicate pâté, handmade by Little Acre Foods in McLaren Vale, also made with “French flair” ($17). This small-batch, ethical producer is devoted to sourcing locally. The pâté was rich and addicting, including with plain crispbreads by Cheese Culture. Memorable moments, indeed.

Our group also indulged in a selection of cheeses from the range curated by French Flair with the utmost care. The Roquefort Papillon (one portion, $20) featured generous streaks of intense blue. We savoured a portion of the Comté French Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC), aged 24 months and made from unpasteurised cow’s milk ($23). Also with AOC-protected status was the Hervé Mons, known as a true cheese innovator (one portion, $23). 

Rosnay organic Kalamata olives were salty, crunchy and fruity ($11). The olives are even more special having been fermented over 12 months in a Murray River salt brine. Stunning dried sausage was ($14).

French Flair la Boutique also provides private tastings and masterclasses, on and off premises. At the end of our foodie session, we popped inside for a shopping spree, stocking up on all things yum.

Who can be trusted?

In a world of spin and confusion, there’s never been a more important time to support independent journalism in Canberra.

If you trust our work online and want to enforce the power of independent voices, I invite you to make a small contribution.

Every dollar of support is invested back into our journalism to help keep citynews.com.au strong and free.

Become a supporter

Thank you,

Ian Meikle, editor