The promotional invite alone was classy. The "Bistrot" format was to allow the VIP lounge crowd to have a chance to talk about the French version of Psych Fest, slated for September 19-20, 2014 in Angers, and all the many facets of the burgeoning Austin-Angers music connections. [Why Angers? Remember, it's our sister city. But that's just part of the story of the dynamic music synergy between Austin and France, and they include a formidable music promoter, Christophe Davy.]
Amidst the hot sun (though the VIP lounge was tented and thus nice and cool) and a fashion parade from a demographic that I never, ever see in my usual life in Austin, Austin Angers Music kicked up the sophistication factor with a truly elegant spread of these tartines--on several trays and in many flavors and colors. Bread from Baguette et Chocolat. Gorgeous.
The tartines did not last long. I held back to let others enjoy. And they did.
Julie, from Nashville and who studied in Angers and speaks a lovely French, gets the credit for the stunning aray of tartines. Samantha Phelps, from Boring Enormous, boots on the ground for all things music regarding France, and Angers in particular these days, let me get a behind-the-scenes look where she and Julie were working this tartine magic in just a tent.
Germain Kpakou, from 9 rue Claveau in Angers, gives in to the request here for photos with Julie.
The tartine array allows for a cultural lesson: the tartine. What is it? It has a couple of manifestations in the French food culture.
First, that name, "tartine," refers to a breakfast item: a sliced in half portion of a crispy baguette, not toasted, ready for you to adorn as you wish, with butter and ideally a selection of at least two confitures.
Second, "tartine" refers to a manifestation as Julie made here. A slice of high-quality bread with a topping. An open-face sandwich. Visual appeal and styling are critical for this type of tartine. They are seen around Paris, most often in my experience as a tartine done with Poilâne bread and then sometimes toasted/grilled for certain toppings to melt (like a nice slab of goat cheese). The New Yorker recently reported on a food trend of fancy "toasts" -- but the tartine has been around in France for way longer. Note the photos, for example, on Cuisine de Bar in Paris, where they serve nothing BUT tartines, on the Poilâne pain au levain.
Austin Psych Fest had some fabulous design inspirations alongside the fashion parade, which my sister and I so enjoyed admiring from a seat in the VIP Lounge. I love a tent filled with plushy furniture, especially when I get to sit on it, and loved these knitted creations over the giant wood spools with denim shredded into fringe.
By the time these pictures were taken though, around 6pm on Day 2, it felt and looked more like a giant slumber party with the guests hanging on a day or so longer than anticipated.
And I cannot wait to try the whole scene out again next year, with some wardrobe adjustments for me to blend in better (crochet, lace, leather, suede fringe...).