Moscow (AFP) – French film star Gerard Depardieu’s taking of Russian citizenship in 2013 was not to everyone’s taste in his native France — but Friday saw him launch a line of food products “inspired by French traditions” in Moscow.
Items including foie gras mousse and an assortment of jams and desserts — as well as vodka, in a nod to his dual citizenship — will all come with the “as recommended by Gerard Depardieu” label, and featured on the shelves of French supermarket chain Auchan in the Russian capital and vicinity.
Muscovites will be able to enjoy such French favourites as fillet of duck and mille-feuilles puff pastries.
The 69-year-old gourmand, who told an Italian newspaper two years ago that “France is likely to become a Disneyland for foreigners, populated by imbeciles making wine and stinky cheese for tourists,” was on hand alongside a Michelin-starred chef for a tasting and cooking workshop.
The line was created by “Gouts de France” (Tastes of France), a Russian company promoting the qualities of French cuisine using “the best producers of foodstuffs and beverages in Russia and the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States,” comprising former Soviet republics minus the Baltic States and Georgia.
Products earning the Depardieu seal of approval are distinguished by “a refined taste inspired by French traditions,” according to Gouts de France.
“Food for the body is just as important as food for the soul. That’s why what we eat is of fundamental importance,” Depardieu had told a Moscow press conference Thursday.
“My idea was to have the Russian market discover the products of local producers who are as passionate as I am about product quality and their beneficial effects,” added the star of such films as “Cyrano de Bergerac” and “Green Card”.
He moved to Belgium in 2012 to avoid French taxes before taking a Russian passport, something which earned him a warm hug from President Vladimir Putin.
The larger than life actor, who also starred in the Asterix & Obelix franchise, is registered as a self-employed entrepreneur in Saransk, a city of around 300,000 people some 650 kilometres (400 miles) east of Moscow.