Start your engines. Our New Year’s Eve festivities begin when friends Mark and Suzanne drive down the hill to our home, leaving their car in Daglan’s main square. They help out as my wife Jan and I load up my car with various goodies (including Champagne, of course). Then we head off to the château where we’ve been invited to spend the evening in a magical setting. It’s high on a hill above Daglan and the Céou River valley.
The warm-up. We enter the medieval château, which has been lovingly renovated and decorated by our hostess and host, Janice and Bill. After Janice and Bill introduce the four of us to the other guests, we all head upstairs. There we sit by a lovely fire in the massive stone fireplace, and begin enjoying the first of many bottles of Champagne.
The kick-off. Then it’s into the dining room, where the long table has been beautifully set for our multi-course dinner — a meal that starts with gravlax salmon and continues to a rich soup, followed by veal tournedos and then a full cheese course and finally a delicious chocolate tarte. On the table are three glasses of white wine in front of each person, so that we begin the meal with a wine tasting and extensive discussion of the wines, the grapes from which they come, and their style and taste. (Naturally, we progressed to red wine for most of the dinner.) Here’s the table:
The intermissions. Between courses, we head back up the stairs for dancing. (There was excellent dancing all around, although I believe that one definite highlight was the amazing impression of Mick Jagger singing “Satisfaction,” performed by one of the leading bloggers in the Greater Daglan Area.) Because of all the breaks, as well as the time spent chatting over each course, Janice decided to officially move us back by one hour, to U.K. time, so that we’d be finished with dinner by the new “midnight.”
The wind-up. Nearing the end of the meal, we were treated to thin slivers of Spanish ham, carved at the table from a leg of a Pata Negra, the famous black-footed pigs of western Spain. Here it is:
The re-entry. Eventually, of course, it was time for the eating and drinking and even the dancing to end. We were now happily and comfortably into 2013. So we headed home, and I pulled my car into its usual spot beside at our home at 3:17. Then, in a very smart move, I went to bed without savouring a nightcap of single malt Scotch — something I had done the year before, when we were entertaining our good friends from Toronto, Darlene and Rob.
The recovery. Okay, I’ll admit that things were a bit slow this morning. But Jan outdid herself with the perfect recovery breakfast — pan-fried back bacon, rosti potatoes (cooked with lardons, for that extra bacon kick), and a fried egg. It wasn’t long before Jan was out on a long walk, and I was using our rowing machine for some exercise.
I hope your New Year’s Eve was just as enjoyable, and I wish all my readers a most happy and healthy 2013.