The French chef launching a war against Dry January

The French chef launching a war against Dry January
Alain Ducasse. Photo: AFP
Thinking about having a Dry January? Star French chef Alain Ducasse wants you to think again.

An outspoken opponent of the post-holiday abstinence challenge Ducasse on Tuesday launched an initiative to entice patrons of his restaurants to drink more, not less.

“I like swimming against the tide,” he told AFP, announcing plans to propose top bottles of Burgundy and Bordeaux at knockdown prices to encourage diners to order wine by the bottle rather than by the glass.”

READ ALSO MAP: Where in France do people drink the most?

“I'm obsessed with selling wine,” Ducasse said, adding that he was horrified to see customers in New York order iced tea with their lunch instead of wine.

In France too, wine is becoming less of a staple during business lunches, prompting some restaurants to offer food-tea pairings.

“I've noted that trend but I don't want to see or hear of it, I am opposed to it,” Ducasse, who has a string of award-winning restaurants across the world, said, vowing to “rid consumers of their inhibitions” with regard to drinking wine.

Dry January – or le mois sans alcool as it is known in France – has also run into opposition from the country's winemakers.

In November, the government quietly abandoned a campaign urging people to give up alcohol in January after the wine industry pushed President Emmanuel Macron to drop the plan.

READ ALSO Government abandons efforts to persuade the French not to drink in January

Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said a campaign is still being considered, but not for this year. The minister has backed several intiatives to try and limit drinking in France – which is responsible for 41,000 deaths a year.

She also wants to lower the country's drink drive limit, reduce guidelines for drinking alcohol while pregnant to zero and stop the sale of alcohol on the terraces of sports grounds.

And in a move that appears to have shocked some of her colleagues, she has even banned wine from being served at lunchtime in the Ministry of Health.

France has the third-highest per capita consumption of alcohol among the 36 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, according to a report from the club of wealthy nations this month.



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