Woo hoo! We have a party to go to tonight!
Not knowing whether to arrive fashionably early or fashionably late, we arrived right on time at 7:30. We were the first ones there.
Keith and Ginny’s home is so spacious compared to the cottage…..a large “L” shaped kitchen and a huge “great” room combining living & dining space with a cozy alcove for reading or watching TV. And it’s warm, comfortably, wonderfully warm in every room.
The other guests arrived soon….one German, three French and five British…..a veritable NATO of a party.
Dave, who used to own a restaurant in nearby Moussan, is tonight’s chef. After starting with appetizers that include pastry puffs with foie gras or salmon and tiny sausages from Britain, we adjourned to the dining room for our first course……
a huge bowl of prawns and langoustines…..perfectly seasoned and chilled. With much gusto, we all dived into the bowl….accompanied by the sounds of cracking shells and smacking lips (lightly and quietly, of course).
After cleaning our hands in lemon-scented water bowls, we were ready for the next course…..
Beef Wellington…..with a filet as long as an arm surrounded by a flaky, crispy pastry crust. With it was a large bowl of fresh green vegetables……broccoli, green beans neatly encircling a green cauliflower centerpiece…..a beautiful presentation.
Dinner was fabulous….the best beef we’ve ever had….not the best beef we’ve had in France…..but the best beef we’ve ever had.
Everyone there (but us) spoke French…..so communication was a little taxing since we always had to wait for someone to translate….but it didn’t stop a lively conversation. By the time the cheese course arrived, we had all entered into a comfortable discourse….. no doubt helped by the freely flowing wine.
And then……The cheese course! A heart-shaped Brie, a mild, white, French cheese and two interesting Cheddar cheeses from England…..one very mild and creamy, the other a little stronger but still melt-in-your-mouth creamy.….very different than the cheddar cheeses we’ve had at home.
And then, the pièce de résistance, dessert! A frothy yet velvety, lemony, mousse-like concoction elegantly served in cut crystal glasses…..a deliciously, light ending to an absolutely fabulous meal.
Ah, but the evening wasn’t over yet…..it was almost midnight, so out came the champagne glasses! The countdown began…..10, 9 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1……and a lively chorus of “Auld Lang Syne” rang in the New Year with French kisses all around……get your minds out of the gutter! This was the customary French air peck, near your cheek, on each side of your face.
No one was ready for the night to end, so out came CD’s with 60’s music (oldies but goodies for oldies but goodies?). Everyone danced and sang the night away…..finally saying our “adieu’s” at 2:00 am. It was a most splendid evening.
Bonne année à tous nos amis at la famille…..wishing all our friends and family a happy and healthy New Year!