Sunday, April 17, 2011

Soiree Paella

Last night was the village's annual spring dinner. This year the menu was paella. Close to 60 adults and children enjoyed an evening of food and fun. This is the paella pan before the rice was added. The paella-master stirs the short rib-sausage-chicken-mussel-shrimp-langoustine-spice mixture over an open flame for an hour or so with a long wooden paddle, then covers it with foil and lets it simmer for another hour. The bar kept folks busy while the chef worked his magic. Soon after I took this photo, he dumped in a big washpan full of rice followed by an even bigger washpan full of broth. Simmering and stirring for another half hour or so until the rice was fluffy, he completed the dish...more than enough to feed the crowd. We munched on a choice of salad makings...diced beets, shredded carrots, shredded celeriac, hard-boiled eggs, cold mixed vegetable dressed either with a balsamic vinegarette or a garlicky mustard mayonnaise...bread and wine while we waited for the paella. Soon everyone was up to their elbows in juicy-- and messy--seafood and chicken pieces. Bottles of red wine, rose, and water, baskets of bread lined the long tables. A feast to welcome spring! Paella was followed by a cheese plate and then with a dish of ice cream, chocolate sauce, whipped cream and half a peach. While the adults ate, the kids danced to pop music on the sound system. Soon a few of the moms (and grandmoms...Christiane was out there with her grands!) started dancing with the children. There were even a couple of dads who joined in with their little boys teaching them those boy dance moves that little guys are shy to try by themselves. As it neared midnight, the littlest party-ers were beginning to droop. People packed up their baskets, gathered coats and children, and began to drift home. A quick clean-up...many hands make light work...and another successful village party was history.

This is the paella before the rice was added. I had never eaten paella before, so this was a new food experience for me. I loved it! Christiane says she makes it sometimes, but obviously it takes a lot of time, so it's not on her dinner menu often. I'd like to try it sometime.

At one point during the evening I looked around the room at all the happy, chattering, eating and drinking French folks and said to Christiane, "I think I'm the only non-French person here!" She surveyed the room and replied, "Yes, you are!" Yet, I couldn't have felt more at home or more comfortable!


  1. Hi Evelyn you are certainly having a magical time :-) and fitting in soooo well , you are like a local :-)

  2. Hi's amazing how I can sit in a room with this many people, not understand hardly a word of what they're talking about and still feel welcomed and at home!

  3. Oh my! How awesome some that sounds. It sounds the an event in the movie "under the Tuscan Sun". Only in France. What an evening! It will be hard to leave next month...

  4. It looks wonderful and I am so glad you had a great time.