Réveillon du Nouvel an 2016


Tracy made a wonderful traditional US style Christmas dinner for us with turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, but with the French touches of Muscat de Noël wine and a Bûche de Noël cake.  New Years Eve 2015-2016 dinner was then up to me to make a proper French Réveillon dinner . . .  or at least as proper of a Réveillon dinner as this US Expat can figure out, shop, cook, and serve.

Réveillon is the traditional dinner that people in French-speaking countries celebrate the night before Christmas and New Year’s Day. Some of the traditional foods vary by region but can include turkey with chestnut stuffing, caviar or smoked salmon on blinis, oysters, foie gras, lobster, and coquille Saint Jacques (scallops). (More descriptions of Réveillon dishes with “food porn” photos at “The Local-France” Ten dishes that make up a French Christmas feast. )

For our New Year’s Eve Réveillon dinner I prepared:

  • Roasted Magret de Canard (oven roasted duck breast.)
  • Grilled Boudin Blanc de porc with truffles. (White pork sausage with black truffles.) Boudin Blanc in France are made with milk while the Boudin Blanc made in Cajun Louisiana is made with pork and rice stuffing.
  • Pan-fried Foie Gras (Duck Liver.) (I have previously learned the trick to remove the battery from the smoke alarm when cooking Foie Gras. The high heat pan and high fat content of the Foie Gras can trigger the smoke detector.)
  • Quiche Lorraine with bacon, cheese and scallops in place of Coquille Saint Jacques for our seafood course. (A purchased quiche since I didn’t think I would have enough time to cook everything.
  • A canapés and cheese plate including Catalan Sausage, duck breast, Foie Gras, Chevre (goat cheese), Brie, Fourme d’Ambert (raw cow’s milk blue cheese), with Rondelé de Président Ail de Garonne & Fines Herbes (creamed cheese spread) and small toasts.  Several of these cheeses are contraband and cannot be imported into the US.

For dessert a Bûche de Noël au chocolat (chocolate cream “Yule Log” cake with layers of crystallized sugar filling) purchased from our nearby pâtissier.

And, of course, Champagne. (What’s the point of living in France without toasting the New Year with real French champagne?)

Our canine children, Sami and Lou, enjoyed a bite of duck with their dinners too. Sami especially loves Canard!

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Celebrating Two Years and a Recent Move

Yesterday, April 2, 2015, we celebrated our move to Argeles-sur-Mer and two years in France with a lovely lunch at a local restaurant near our new place.

Le Papayo is one of the few restaurants open year-round in this beautiful sea-side resort town and made for an excellent place to sit on the terrace and enjoy our celebratory lunch.

The food was excellent and the owner spoke English, which is a rarity to be sure! We started off with a demi-litre of chilled rose, a speciality we’ve noticed in this part of France, one we enjoyed often in Carcassonne at our favorite restaurant, La Casa.

Alan and I both ordered the Duo de Quiche entree (or appetizer), which was a light salad with small wedges of quiche, one was leek and artichoke the other bacon and cheese. We enjoyed both immensely, especially considering that 90% of the time we eat vegetarian or vegan these days!

For the main plat (or entree in the US) Alan had the Viande plat, two meats — chicken and lamb — and two sausages over a bed of frites. I had the Escallope et Milanese, a thin chicken breast over a bed of spiral pasta with a light marinara sauce.

For dessert we both had the Dame Blanche, a real treat since we rarely eat anything with sugar anymore. This was by far the biggest indulgence and so very tasty. The Dame Blanch is three scoops of hand-made gelato-style almond ice cream with a dark fudge sauce, topped with freshly made whipped cream.

Those who know me well will attest to the fact that I never eat whipped cream, but I had no problem enjoying this dessert!

Afterwards we took a stroll along the promenade and then out onto the beach to sit in the sand and enjoy the view.

All in all it was an excellent way to celebrate!

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