It started with an invitation chez mes amis to a home 35 km north of Lyon. I’d been to their home before for a grand réveillon, so it was fitting that this time I was coming for another party.
We arrived and set off to cook at 15h. We prepared the apéros (artichoke and pesto caviar, jamon serrano wrapped around goat cheese, smoke trout and cheese balls covered with pistachios, avocado and coconut milk mousse, and mini chicken and mustard croissants), the entrée of salmon terrine and a jelly of aneth, the plat of hachis parmentier de confit de canard (duck confit served with mashed potatos and butter on top), and the dessert of American mango cheesecake and mango/mandarin sorbet.
The guests arrived around 21h and it was time to eat. Four-five hours later, the 13 of us had finished all the food and somewhere around 11 full bottles of wine, champagne, and a Marc de Beaujolais digestif. Then it was off to bed.
The next day we woke up to the sounds of merles (blackbirds) singing in the trees and sunshine streaming through the windows. It was about 20°C that morning (68°F) and was going to warm up to 24-25°C (75-77°F) later in the day. All this led us to one conclusion.
It was time for the first barbeque of the year.
So it was off to the Villefranche’s marché couvert for fresh meat, bread, and salad. The butchers provided côte d’agneau (lamb chops) and saucisses de canard, mouton, et porc (duck, lamb, and pork sausages mixed with herbs, tomatos and spices).
Then it was back home to set up the table and the grill. The next door neighbors came to say hello and ended up being invited to lunch; it was too beautiful of a day not to enjoy a meal outdoors. From the pantry came homemade ratatouille made fresh at the end of summer 2010 at the peak of the tomato, squash, and eggplant season. A salad was whipped together with traditional French salad dressing (moutarde à l’ancienne – whole grain mustard, vinaigre – vinegar, and huile d’olive – olive oil). We ate; we played le loup with the children. Because when the children want to joue le loup, there’s no escaping this game of tag.
Then it was time to take advantage of the sun, so it was off to the center of Gleizé (a little village right next to Villefranche-sur-Saône). It is a very small village with the church, school, city hall, and bakery right in one little plaza.
Hello Beaujolais vineyards. Villefranche and Gleizé are part of the Beaujolais wine making region – mostly known for their Beaujolais Nouveau crops that can only be drank every year starting on the third Thursday of November. Thus, in true French form, every November there is a huge Beaujolais festival to celebrate these light-bodied red wines.
Then it was time to say
au revoir à bientôt to Gleizé. Because amongst friends, it’s never goodbye. It’s always, see you later.