Stay in Wenzhou, Share the world: A Journey of French Food and Culture

Charles de Gaulle remarked, “How can you govern a country with more than 246 varieties of cheeses?” which is a humorous metaphor for the diversity of French culture.

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The 2nd session of the “Stay in Wenzhou, Share the world” salon was about France and was held at the urban venue Banshufang* in the afternoon of Jan. 20th, 2018. Beginning with French wine and cheeses, Vincent Peu Duvallon, a French lecturer at the college of architecture and design at Wenzhou-Kean University, shared with the audience the romantic and vibrant history and culture of France.

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Prof. Peu Duvallon said, “Today I will talk a little bit about food. More importantly, I will discuss the differences in special foods in France.” He started with a brief introduction to location and history of France, and then he elaborately expounded on French wine and cheese, two important aspects of French cuisine. There are 246 types of cheeses in France and each different region has its own kinds of cheeses. Similarly, wine is distinguished by the different environments where grapes are planted. Prof. Peu Duvallon said, “We don’t eat wine and cheese together. It’s a habit from the US. But I think it’s the best way to introduce French food to foreigners.” He also playfully made fun of the various perceptions of wine and cheese in different cultures. At the end of the session, Prof. Peu Duvallon taught the audience how to recognize the date and origin of the wine.

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  After the sharing session, Prof. Peu Duvallon and the audience played simple games, like matching attractions with their locations and identifying wine flavors. Everyone was very enthusiastic. Afterward, WKU faculty who came from the US, the Philippines, and other counties, joined together to share their own stories. Everyone had a chance to taste cheese and wine and joyfully chatted with each other. The activity brought people of different cultures together.

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Sundan Zeng, a teacher from Wenzhou Foreign Language School, brought her students to take part. She remarked that there are few places in Wenzhou where we can experience French culture. The activity helpfully enriched the extra-curriculum knowledge of students.

The “Kuaidian Wenzhou” live-broadcasting platform of Wenzhou TV televised the salon, and nearly 1500 people watched it online.

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The salon series “stay in Wenzhou, Share the world”:  Start a world cultural tour with WKU” was initiated by Wenzhou-Kean University in late 2017. Each session presents different countries. All WKUers and Wenzhou citizens are welcomed to share cultures of the world. Even if you have missed the past salons, other salons will be held every month (except during summer and winter vacations). The theme of the next session is going to be Britain.

*Banshufang is a bookstore located in Jiajing Garden, Nanxijiang Rd., Ouhai Restrict, Wenzhou.

Translated by Feng Yutong
Check by Zhang Cui, Gary Linebarger