merry noel

i know i know, time moves fast these days and christmas was AGES ago, i ment to get this post up in December but you know the days turn into weeks and before you know it here we are looking strait into february blogging about the ancient 2012.

Christmas in France (in these parts) is all about the food. We eat, we eat well, we eat for hours, for days and then we talk about eating. We start the family meals on the 23, lunch and dinner!training, preparing for the 25, the meal of all meals christmas lunch! It is an epic affair. My mother in law cooks for days in order to prepare, shopping for weeks in order to purchase and order the finest ingredients. My father in law has his jobs, oysters and champagne are his domain. Christophe's grandmother brought the foie gras, an entire cured ham was won by an uncle in a local bingo game and brought to the table and we were in charge of the bread and wine making the meal some what of a group effort but the brunt of the work is done by my mother in law, a saint in the kitchen. The meal is eaten like all french meals, in stages. None of this north american heaping mound of food on ones plate, salads seeping into turkey and mashed potatoes. Each dish is savoured, respected and truly tasted. 
This is not a meal to be rushed.

Starting with a crisp white wine and fresh oysters.

Langoustine perfectly cooked and served with a home made mayonnaise and if that is not to your tasting smoked salmon with a slice of butter.  

 This is what was left of the foie gras and jambon by the time it got around to me, the cured sausage and paté never did make it in front of the camera.

 The die hards got stuck into the main course, roast turkey and fried potatoes but my poor canadian tummy just didn't have the stamina. 

So i hung out with my beautiful niece who was by the way the star of the show this year around the christmas table, nothing better than babies at christmas time. 

The cheese plate goes with out saying, I have yet to finish a french meal without a piece of cheese. There was a goats cheese dipped in ash, a sheep cheese from the black mountains and a graisse de noel which is a cantal made from the first milk after the cows come in from the pastures, it is light and creamy and a sure sign of the season.

Some where in the early evening we finished it all off with the mother of all deserts, a home made bûche de noel. The cake takes a good afternoon and serious bakers patience to make, my mother in law made two of them, a vanilla and a chocolate for each and every taste preference. With a glass of champagne we toasted another christmas together and start the serious work of digestion (until new years day when we do it all over again!)  

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