As darkness descends on an already dim Daglan (how’s that for mood?), I’ll share a few thoughts on what went on our plates and in our glasses this Christmas Eve. And how it all came to pass.
The morning trip: First thing after breakfast this morning, I headed out for the 10-kilometre drive to Castelnaud, to visit the best bakery in our area, Maison Carré. As expected, the parking lot was full, and extra staff members were on hand to deal with the increase in business. But it was all manageable, and I was able to come away with a nice boule (a round bread) and desserts for today’s lunch, without too long a wait. Maison Carré, by the way, is the kind of shop that makes me want to buy everything when I walk in the door. And I don’t mean one of everything, I mean everything.
The question of wine: When I checked out our wine cellar this morning, I suddenly realized that our stocks of white wine were getting dangerously low. Fearful of the consequences, I suggested to my wife Jan that a good work-around would be to drink Champagne (of which we had several bottles) until the wine shop opens again in Sarlat, after Christmas. She readily agreed, so this was it for lunch:
The main event: Our Christmas Eve tradition is to have the great French seafood dish, bouillabaisse, and this year was no exception. Jan kicked it off by sautéeing some chopped onion, adding a bit of prepared fish soup, and tossing in some mussels. Here’s the pot:
Into the pot Jan put this load of seafood, including salmon, cod, shrimp and langoustines (I know it looks like a lot, but remember it has to serve two people):
It doesn’t take long to cook the fish and other seafood in the bouillabaisse, and then it was on to the table, accompanied by a few slices of the boule I had bought at the bakery in Castelnaud this morning:
The dessert course: Having made our way through most of the bouillabaisse, we took a break to finish the bottle of Champagne and give our tummies a rest. Then it was on to the desserts which I had bought at the bakery a few hours earlier. This was Jan’s gluten-free, macaron-based dessert, filled with raspberries and small pieces of lychee:
My dessert was an incredibly rich concoction of various chocolate mousses, coated in a glistening shell of dark chocolate. In a bid to help tidy up our liquor cabinet, I graciously agreed to have a small glass of brandy with my dessert, so that we could discard the empty bottle (one does what one can). Here’s my plate:
With the desserts we also had coffee, and yet another treat. This very morning, we had received a delivery of goodies from Fauchon of Paris — our Christmas gift from daughter Anne, son Michael, and their partners James and Vanessa (respectively), who live in Toronto but are quite good at shopping online. Included in the large parcels we received were two trays of absolutely delicious Fauchon macarons, like the ones shown here:
Also included was a lovely bottle of Champagne, but of course that will have to wait for another day. Like, tomorrow.