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May 21, 2019

Photos from our preview of Aix French Market

See the food that had our guests impressed and excited for the spot in Optimist Hall


A few weeks before Optimist Hall opens, we hosted an Unpretentious Preview of Aix French Market at Aix en Provence. It was a delicious night! When it opens, Aix French Market will sell rotisserie chicken and prime rib platters, as well as French breads, desserts, and pastries. The event sold out to subscribers in a few hours, and those who were lucky enough to attend were treated to a fantastic meal. (Want to be sure you’re on the invite list for our next event? Subscribe today and get a one-week free trial!) See photos from the event below! Photos by Peter Taylor Photography. —Kristen Wile

Dinner started with traditional French baguette, chewy on the inside and crunchy on the outside. The baguettes will be sold at Aix French Market. Photo by Peter Taylor

Aix co-owner Patrick Garrivier (left) and chef Nicholas Tarnate, who is wearing an apron showing the branding of the new food stall in Optimist Hall. Photo by Peter Taylor

Bryan St. Clair and Patrick Garrivier, the owners of Aix en Provence, Le Cochon D’Or in Waxhaw, and Aix French Market, share the history of their restaurants with guests. Photo by Peter Taylor

UP’s editor/founder Kristen Wile welcomes guests to the third sold-out Unpretentious Preview. Photo by Peter Taylor

The salad is topped with pecorino cheese and uses locally-sourced greens. The salads from our Unpretentious Preview were made with greens from Tega Hills Farm. Photo by Peter Taylor

When it opens, the chicken and prime rib platters at Aix French Market will be served with these lightly dressed greens to help cut the richness of the meat and frites. Photo by Peter Taylor

Platters of chicken, prime rib, and fries were served to guests as the main course. Photo by Peter Taylor

Chef Nicholas Tarnate checks in on the crowd before discussing his menu and answering questions. Photo by Peter Taylor

The prime rib is prepared simply, but expertly. Photo by Peter Taylor

The prime rib was deliciously tender, served with a creamy horseradish sauce. Guests couldn’t help but take photos. Photo by Peter Taylor

James brings platters of food to guests at family-style tables. Instead of name tags, guests wore tags answering the question “Which French food or drink are you most grateful for?” to start conversation. Photo by Peter Taylor

Guests pass around a basket of fries. The fries for Aix French Market are hand-cut to and are sized between traditional and shoe-string fries. Prepping fries for the event was a four-hour knife skill effort. Photo by Peter Taylor

The chicken at Aix French Market goes through a multi-day brining process. It’s air-dried to ensure a crispy skin when it goes on the rotisserie. Photo by Peter Taylor

Aix French Market will serve rotisserie chicken and prime rib. The prime rib is Certified Angus Beef; the chicken comes from Springer Mountain Farms. Photo by Peter Taylor

Unpretentious Guests each got their own “chocolate bomb” (front left) with caramel chocolate mousse on the inside and a burst of mango when you broke into it. The bottom was a shortbread made to soak up the flavors. Also on the menu: a chocolate cake, matcha layer cake, and strawberry cake. Photo by Peter Taylor

A close-up of the chocolate bomb. Photo by Peter Taylor

A close-up of photographer Peter Taylor’s pick for best dessert. Every dessert was someone’s favorite; they were fantastic across the board. Photo by Peter Taylor

The fruit tart had waves of various fruits on top, but diners will be able to buy smaller versions when Aix French Market opens in early- to mid-June. Photo by Peter Taylor

Guests were in awe of the fruit tart, which had a delightfully thin and crunchy crust, creamy base, and fresh fruit. Photo by Peter Taylor

Aix co-owner Patrick Garrivier shows off a traditional strawberry cake while still whole. Photo by Peter Taylor

Unpretentious Drinker Jon Wile helps pastry chef Krista Margies show some off her creations before cutting them into slices. Photo by Peter Taylor

UP’s editor Kristen Wile and Aix en Provence co-owner Patrick Garrivier chat with guests about what to expect from Aix French Market, including whether there will be croissants (yes, multiple kinds) and how much plates will cost ($12-$16). Photo by Peter Taylor

The event sold out in a few hours, packing the Aix en Provence dining room in Myers Park for a family-style meal. Photo by Peter Taylor

In addition to the latest food news, honest restaurant reviews, a calendar of foodie events, and a weekly Q&A with readers, subscribers get the chance to attend events like this one. Photo by Peter Taylor

A guest listens as the staff answers questions. Tickets to Unpretentious Previews are available to paid subscribers only; subscribe today for just $5.99 a month and get a free one-week trial. Photo by Peter Taylor

As part of Unpretentious Previews, diners get the chance to ask questions to the owners and chefs at the host restaurant. Photo by Peter Taylor

The desserts were beautifully presented, but tasted even better. Unpretentious Previews are a great way to sample more of a menu than you traditionally can fit in your stomach thanks to family style portions. Photo by Peter Taylor

A guest listens as pastry chef Krista Margies explains how she made the chocolate bomb. Photo by Peter Taylor

Pastry chef Krista Margies explains her desserts and how they will be sold at Aix French Market. Photo by Peter Taylor

One last look at the desserts. Realizing you missed out? Sign up to be an Unpretentious Palate subscriber for $5.99 a month and get access to tickets for exclusive events, restaurant reviews, food and drink news in Charlotte, personalized recommendations in our weekly Q&A, and more. Photo by Peter Taylor

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