The table is set....
The champagne is chilling....
Patrick begins to pour....
Let the Reveillon begin!
Wikipedia defines reveillon as a long dinner preceding either Christmas Day or New Year's Day. It means to stay awake and the point is to stay awake until after midnight to usher in the holiday.
That's exactly what we did last night. Our evening began at 8pm up the hill at Josi and Patrick's house. We gathered, popped the corks, and started the feast with an amuse-bouche.
Here they are. Aren't those tiny glasses with their bent spoons hanging on the edge adorable? Each glass held a few spoonfuls of pureed beet zinged with fresh coarse ground black pepper and topped with a little dollop of whipped cream sprinkled with chopped chives. I know it sounds weird, but it was delicious...definitely something I would make and serve. We also nibbled on roasted cherry tomatoes wrapped with bacon and little puff pastries stuffed with a variety of things.
Josi announced 'a table' but before we sat down, we had to find our place. Christiane had put together a collage for each guest with images that represented their interests and personality. It was great fun seeing everyone try not only to find their place, but also chuckle over each other's collage!
Here's mine. On it I have a helicopter, a cat, dogs, an Iowa state flag, an outdoor thermometer, a netbook, books and reference to 'bois du chauffage' (firewood) since I spend a lot of time stacking and hauling wood! Eventually we all found our seats and began our meal. Patrick poured a slightly sweet white wine from the Alsace to accompany the first few dishes...a tiny dish of pureed white vegetables topped with slivers of smoked salmon, a slice of fois gras, then a langoustine with cold creamed vegetables for each of us, followed by either a plate of lotte or St. Pierre. I chose the St. Pierre. Plates were cleared, red wine poured. The main plat was either capon or biches. I had the biches which was a tender piece of venison from the deer's lower leg. Both meats were served with a rice pilaf and sauteed mushrooms.Finally dessert...two small rounds, one a chocolate mousse, the other a vanilla mousse drizzled with raspberry sauce. Somewhere between the fish courses, the clock struck midnight. We raised a toast to 2011 and bonne annee'd everyone with kisses.
And while plates were cleared for dessert, the singing began. I've said before that the French love music. Last evening was proof of that. These folks know a ton of songs and sang them all!
Some of the tunes they sang were familiar; most were not.They all laughed when I told them I could only sing in English, but I could certainly hum along in French! I don't remember who made the first move toward departure, but I do know that after a brisk walk down the hill to the Chatette, the clock read 3:45am when I opened the door! I don't even remember the last time I was up this late....or the last time I had this much fun! Happy 2011!