France and China have dinner in Paris to celebrate Lunar New Year

France and China are two of the world's gastronomic giants, and leading figures from the two countries came together in Paris to celebrate Lunar New Year at a special dinner.

At the start of the Year of the Rabbit, a dinner was held at the UNESCO headquarters in the French capital on January 23.

The Chinese ambassador highlighted the importance of cherishing bilateral ties, and using food as a bridge to connect cultures.

"We think that creating a link of friendship through food is the best way to bring the French and Chinese people even closer," said Lu Shaye, the China's Ambassador to France.


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The porcelain connection

Porcelain first emerged during the Shang dynasty in China, more than 3,000 years ago.

The global success of the fine crockery traditions from both China, and more recently from France, was another cultural link celebrated at the dinner.

"We will never forget that porcelain was first created in China several thousand years ago," said Michel Bernardaud, CEO of the Bernardaud Porcelain Company.

"In Limoges, we started our tradition in the 18th century, with the ingenuity of French decorative arts, with our styles.

"We have a different perspective and a vision of porcelain but, naturally, we respect and admire everything that has been done and is being done in China," added Bernardaud.


Gastronomic magic

The world's most respected restaurant reviewer is arguably France's Michelin guide, which hands out stars to the best kitchens and chefs.

France's Joel Robouchon group has 29 Michelin stars among all its restaurants. Its boss Sophie Robouchon, daughter of the late French chef Joel Robouchon, addressed the event.

Some of the celebrated chef's most famous recipes were served at the dinner, including caviar jelly, one of two starters on the menu, and braised beef featuring as a main course.

"The magic of our two cuisines allows us to have discussions, talk together, to better understand each other," said Sophie Robouchon.

"We can also discover cultures which often can inspire others and that's what makes this gastronomic moment more special, that we can be here with joy and conviviality."

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