Posted by: vlibrizzi | June 22, 2009

A French Family Dinner

IMG_2726Last night, our wonderful 85 year old neighbor, Denise, invited us over to her sister’s house for “un vrai diner francaise”. There were nine of us in attendance—Denise, her sister Janine, Janine’s son who owns the hotel next door to us, their friend Jacqueline and her brother Alan, and our neighbor Bianca and her boyfriend, Roger. 

C. and I went over to Denise’ house early to help her prepare the food. We cut up vegetables for her greek salad and some other things, and then brought all the ingredients to Janine’s house. 

Then, our meal started with an apertif of champagne (that we had bought for Denise from our trip to Burgundy a few weeks ago) and olive tapanade with potato chips out on Denise’s patio.

Then, we went to Janine’s house where Denise told each of us where to sit. I was placed between Janine and her son, and C. was at the other end of the long table (we found out the table is from a medieval monastery!) seated next to Denise.

IMG_2724Then, we ate our greek salad (usually, in French formal dinners, the salad course comes after the main course, but we reversed it last night). It was served with a light rose wine

Then, we had slow cooked lamb shoulder with couscous and a spicy sauce. It was wonderful! You can see Janine’s son serving me my plate of the lamb shoulder in the photo to the left (and you can see how excited I am to eat it 🙂 ) 

We all then shared a cheese plate of four different cheeses—two from Normandy, one basic chevre, and the other, a block of (my favorite) comte. The cheese was served with a dark red wine. When I asked about the red wine, Janine’s son told me that cheese is always best when served with red wine, not white (very interesting!) 

For dessert, Denise bought a baba au rhum cake for each of us at the bakery down the street from our house. It was very strong (you could get drunk just  from eating the cake!). 

IMG_2725Later, we retired to the salon where Roger played piano for us and we opened yet another bottle of champagne. 

Honestly, after our dinner last night, C. and I concluded that the French really do know how to live…and how to throw the best dinner parties! 🙂

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