New Lawrence catering company hopes to introduce city to Beaujolais Nouveau and other specialty events
You have to give the French credit where credit is due. When it comes to finding an excuse to throw a party, they don't just settle for the traditional options of birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and such. No, they also keep track of liquor distribution dates and throw parties based off those as well.
That's essentially what a Beaujolais Nouveau party is all about. (I'm assuming it is easier to pronounce after a half a bottle of wine.) Beaujolais is a type of French wine, and nouveau is French for new. Perhaps you are starting to get the idea. (Or perhaps you have had the other half of the bottle and don't care.) The third Thursday of November marks the first day that French retailers can sell the year's new crop of Beaujolais wine. So, to mark the occasion, the French throw a party.
Now, Lawrence will too. A new Lawrence-based catering company, Sumptuous Feasts & Fetes, is hosting a Beaujolais Nouveau party to introduce itself to the community. The event is set for 7 p.m. on Nov. 22 at the Castle Tea Room, 1307 Massachusetts St. (Note: The event is actually on a Friday. We have to ease into these French traditions. When we start drinking wine for breakfast, we'll know we're ready to go full bore. Oh, you're ready, I see.)
Tickets are $50, with $20 of each ticket sale going to the local food bank Just Food. The event will feature a variety of French hors d'oeuvres, a sampling of the various Beaujolais wines available in America and also a unique nonalcoholic type of sampling. The organizers will host a tasting of bottled water from around the world.
Rosemary Sump is the owner of Sumptuous Feasts & Fetes, and she is hoping to do more than introduce people to the idea of Beaujolais Nouveau. In addition to running a traditional catering company that serves events like weddings, house parties and corporate functions, she hopes to create a tradition of "pop-up restaurants" in Lawrence.
That's a concept where a catering company will host its own special event with a fine dining type of menu. Sump said Lawrence has several unique venues that lend themselves well to the idea of a pop-up restaurant.
We'll have to see what type of concepts the company comes up with, but don't be surprised if some of them have the flair of an inauguration ball or of a D.C. power-broker party. Sump and her husband, Mark Sump, have a deep background in those worlds.
I wrote about Mark Sump and his Lawrence-based political polling and technology company back in October 2012. Sump was a staff member for President Bill Clinton, and one of his jobs was to set up a variety of events for the president. That included organizing one of the many balls at Clinton's first inauguration and hosting private events for world leaders such as Mikhail Gorbachev and Nelson Mandela.
It was during the planning stages of the first inauguration that Sump surprised Rosemary with a gift: an extended trip to Paris for her to study at one of the top cooking schools in the city.
"I think he thought I was going to get bored while he was working on the inauguration," Rosemary said.
(I must confess I've done something similar for my lovely wife to combat boredom. I once bought her a fairly expensive crossword puzzle book.)
Rosemary loves the challenge of cooking French cuisine, but said her catering business won't be limited to French dishes.
"I've already done everything from a Dim Sum party to French to Indian to Mexican," Rosemary said.