Village marks 3rd annual Cognac Day, Sister City status with French city

Cognac is typically described by the aroma of flowers, fruits, nuts and spices. These smells are similar to what one encounters in Pinecrest Gardens, making it the perfect venue to celebrate the third annual Cognac Day and Pinecrest’s sister city status with Cognac, France.

Pinecrest Gardens will host all things French from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15, with cognac tastings, a Musée Des Arts du Cognac poster exhibit, French cuisine and French music by the Miami Youth Symphony. You might even bump into a mime. Admission to the Gardens will be free in honor of the event.

The benefits of being a sister city with Cognac include student exchange programs, tourism and business promotions. The first Pinecrest-Cognac exchange students are expected to travel abroad early next year.

Pinecrest and Cognac are comparable cities, each having about 19,000 residents, high education levels and affluence. Pinecrest also acts as an educational pointcity for knowledge about cognac. The village held an educational cognac presentation for 40 visiting U.S. mayors and council members during a National League of Cities conference in Pinecrest last September.

Only a specific type of brandy made in the Cognac region can be labeled as cognac under European Union rules. The spirit must be made according to strictly defined regulations that include being matured in old oak barrels.

The Pinecrest-Cognac relationship stems from a chance meeting of Village Mayor Cindy Lerner and Cognac Mayor Michel Gourinchas, and his delegation in February 2012 at a luncheon sponsored by the Miami chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International. Les Dames (French for “The Women”) is an organization of women leaders in food, wine, hospitality and farming.

A week after the meeting, Mayor Lerner invited Mayor Gourinchas and his delegation to Pinecrest so they could learn more about each other’s communities. Mayor Lerner welcomed Mayor Gourinchas and his delegation with a proclamation designating Feb. 15 as Cognac Day.

Pinecrest’s Sister City status with Cognac was formalized last year when Mayor Gourinchas again visited Pinecrest on Feb. 15 and signed a formal agreement with Mayor Lerner.

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