Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Reveillon 2012

Reveillon 2012 began at 8 pm with 10 of us gathering at Christiane's. Isn't Christiane's table pretty? It was an evening of exploring French food and culture, as well as an evening of 'firsts' for me. With vintage American rock-n-roll in the background, the merrymaking began with nibbles and a champagne toast. We decided a couple of weeks ago to make this evening easy, so no meal was planned, only platters of easy-to-put-together food. Christiane, however, just can't help herself. Our first platter was her homemade foie gras accompanied by various toppings: ginger-flavored salt, homemade fig preserves and onion confit. The next three platters focused on the sea: oysters and gambas, coquilles St. Jacques, and smoked salmon.

Here's my first 'first' of the evening...raw oysters. Our oysters hailed from Brittany and the Vendee. How have lived so many years and not tried them??? Thanks to Greg, the moment is recorded for history! Not very good photos of me, but hey, it's hard to look glamorous as you slurp an oyster.
See that smile on my face?? One slurp, and it was instant love! I could have an new addiction. Christiane had both lemon and a shallot-vinegar sauce for them; both were yummy, but I really loved them best with just a little squeeze of lemon. I've heard people describe them as tasting like the ocean, and I've scoffed. But that's truly how they taste. Enough like the ocean that the next time I'm in need of a 'seashore fix' I think eating a few oysters would cure it. Hopefully, the need will come in a month with an 'R' so oysters will be on offer!

After a palate-cleansing boule of pineapple ice cream swimming in homemade juniper berry eau de vie, we moved on to the next platter: puff pastry cups filled with ris de veau, a classic French dish, again homemade by Christiane. Ris de veau was my second 'first' of the night. Ris is the French culinary word for sweetbreads, and although I've eaten liver, heart and of course, Rocky Mountain oysters, this dish was my first taste of thymus gland and pancreas. Small pieces diced and mixed with a flavorful gravy filled the pastry with a rich, chewy sweetness. I liked it a lot!

Salad followed, then a cheese platter with five choices: Emmenthaler, some cabecous, a lovely orange mimolette with a crusty rind, a chunk of beautiful blue veined Roquefort and a round of Epoisses. Third 'first'....the Epoisses, one of the grand stinky cheeses of France. Smells awful, tastes delicious especially with a sip of champagne.

Are we done yet? Nope! We were offered two flavors of ice cream molded into loaves. One was two kinds of chocolate, the other raspberry sherbet covering a rich vanilla. Then, coffee, sweet cherries soaked in vodka, and a box of chocolates. Now, we're done! And it's 2:30 am. We have truly welcomed the New Year in grand style. We've eaten, drank, kissed, sang Auld Lang Syne, and laughed.What a fun way to ring out the old year and usher in the new.
Brittany oyster with its fluted, black-striped edge.


  1. Sounds like a really wonderful start to the New Year
    Happy New Year to you - I really must give oysters another try - had one once and hated it !

  2. Sounds like a lot of fun. I have to pass on the oysters, though. I have never been able to like them - and it's not squeamishness; I eat snails, mussels etc. Just find them too chewy. Happy New Year!