For frustrated Francophiles unable to visit France is there any joy to be found in the much-hyped world of virtual travel? In the second article in a series , Guy Hibbert investigates the flurry of online offerings for foodies
TV chefs have been with us for decades. We accept their instructions without any qualms about their not being physically present so it’s no surprise to find that online food and wine experiences have boomed during the pandemic. Existing businesses have laid on extra courses and real-world course presenters have moved on to Zoom. Fancy trying your hand at the quintessential French treat, le macaron ? It’s yours online direct from a Parisian pâtisserie for just €35.
Top chefs are too busy running restaurants to be available online but there are still some great recorded videos to inspire you. Celebrity French chef Philippe Etchebest  makes the classic French pain brioche.
For our U.S. readers, Murray’s Cheese  is running a series of online cheese and wine pairing events. Book the tasting and they will send you four different cheeses and the pairing guide so you can log on equipped with the ideal wine for your soirée.
Based in France, qualified wine instructor Caroline Conner runs Wine Dine Caroline , whereby you and your friends can enjoy a virtual tasting, either choosing your own wines or letting her pick for you.
Caroline says: “I think the thing that I’ve learned is that it really doesn’t matter if people have the exact same wine or not, and that virtual tastings work really well! It’s about being educational and entertaining.”
Online wine and food tasting may hit the sweet spot for virtual experiences. It’s fun, it’s social, you learn and you get to drink and eat with friends – maybe even with friends and family who can’t ever get together in France at the same time – so it becomes a memorable event. It made me wonder: Could our delight in discovering French destinations – cities, towns, villages, wild places – also be replicated online with as much joy?
From France Today magazine