A menu of France’s finest dishes will help close the 4,000-mile gap between Columbus and Paris at the 13th Annual Carnivale France fundraiser at 7 p.m. Saturday at kidscommons children museum.

French native Silvia Vigier of Columbus already has a yearning for event chef Gethin Thomas’ gratin de pommes de terre. His experience includes a stint at the restaurant Duquenoise in Paris.

“It’s definitely one of the staples of France — and a big comfort food most people grow up with,” Vigier said of the potatoes cooked with cream and gruyere, a yellow cheese. “To be authentically French, it has to have the cheese, right?”

The menu’s other main dishes include offerings such as confit de canard (duck leg cooked in its own fat with garlic and thyme) and ratatouille (vegetable stew), also a favorite of Vigier.

“I think people obviously will know that from the movie they probably saw with their kids,” she said with a laugh, referring to the Disney flick about a rat dreaming of becoming a fine chef.

French wines will add to the European flair. The Tiptonians and Bleu Django will provide music. The evening will include a live and silent auction. Last year’s Carnivale, with an Italian theme, drew 350 people and netted $108,000 for kidscommons, according to organizers.

Diane Robbins, spokeswoman for kidscommons, acknowledged that Thomas, a longtime supporter and chef for kidscommons’ events, is popular enough sometimes to attract ticket buyers with his menu. That’s especially true this year with French fare.

“I think Gethin’s reputation does generate interest and excitement,” Robbins said. “Plus, there’s the fact that he’s actually studied in France. I think people always are excited to see what creations he comes up with.

“And there’s certainly no bad French food. So we had a hard time narrowing it down.”

Dress for the event is casual, though some attendees in years past have dressed as famous characters or figures representing the host country. For instance, two years ago amid a Swedish theme, Robbins decked herself out as a member of Swedish pop group ABBA, complete with glittery, wide, bell-bottomed pants.

The kidscommons facility, which features a variety of hands-on activities from art to physical fitness, including a 17-foot climbing wall and a giant toilet/slide, is among the city’s most popular family attractions. Last year, it drew more than 40,000 visitors.

Time to celebrate

What: 13th Annual Carnivale France, a fundraiser for the kidsommons children’s museum downtown.

When: 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday.

Where: kidscommons children’s museum, 309 Washington St., Columbus.

Tickets: $75 per person, available at the door or by phone.

Information and tickets: 812-378-3046 or kidscommons.org.

The menu

Apéritifs

Charcuterie platter of French sausages, hams and garnishes

Fromage platter: assorted cheeses From France

Baguette (French bread)

Hors-d’oeuvers and canapés

Crêpes au saumon fumé: smoked salmon in crepes (region: Bretagne)

Gougères: warm French cream puffs (region: Bourgogne)

Tomates confites à la tapenade: tomato confit with tapenade (region: Provence)

Plat principal

Confit de canard: duck leg cooked in its own fat with garlic and thyme (region: Aquitaine)

Choucroute à l’ancienne: Henry-made sauerkraut with smoked pork, streaky bacon and French sausages (region: Alsace)

Plat principal (végétarien)

Lentilles du puy: French green lentils (region: Auvergne)

Gratin de pommes de terre: potatoes cooked with cream and gruyere (region: Alpes)

Ratatouille: vegetable stew (region: Provence)

Desserts

Assorted macarons (region: Paris)

Assorted petits fours (region: Paris)

Author photo
Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at bblair@therepublic.com or 812-379-5672.