Our observations of Christmas in a small town in France are that two things are important: Church and Food.
Living on Church Street we heard the bells for Mass all through the evening and night of December 24th. Doug thinks that perhaps there was a Mass every hour.
After midnight Mass the tradition here is to open presents and have a big meal "RÃ©veillon" which appears to consist of Oysters and Fois gras judging by the line-ups at the market stalls on Saturday.
We slept the night of December 24th and then on Christmas Day went for lunch at Alain and Elisabeth's house. Lunch was fabulous: little tartlets as a appetizer, fois gras (both duck and goose) on fresh bread, fabulous beef tenderloin with mixed vegetables, and a yule log (sponge cake with fruit filling) and pear sorbet for dessert. Each course was paired with a wine. We had port or champagne with the appetizers, Alsatian Gewurztraminer or a dry white with fois gras, 1983 Red Bordeau with the beef and champagne or Gewurztraminer with dessert. Finshed with Calvados as a digestif. We shared the meal with Alain, Elisabeth and three of their daughters. Lovely.
We had bought the makings of a Christmas meal but had no room for it on the evening of the 25th. Instead we had our Christmas dinner of roast duck breast, Brussel sprouts, potato and yule log (sponge cake soaked in Gran Marnier with lots of icing) and Christmas cake (thanks Bob and Deirdre) last night. We drank a 2003 Terrasses from Pays des cÃ´tes de thongue. A little tannic until it opened up. I have never seen the duck steaklet (direct translation) available in Canada and certainly not at that price. My guess is that they raise many ducks for their livers (fois gras) and then the meat is a bonus.
Generally the availability of fresh birds at the grocery store was impressive: turkey, duck, goose, chicken, capon all whole and in pieces. If they have any of that duck steaklet left I know what we are having for New Years!
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