Reveillon nouvel an
The New Year's Eve celebrations caused agonies of decision making because of the price. Every year the owners of the cafe over the road do a New year's Eve bash in the Salle des Fetes. And this year they were charging 45 Euros a head.
Now in actual fact 45 Euros is not a lot when you consider the menu (later) and the wine included and the music. But with 4 adults (my in-laws are currently staying with us) and 2 kids it meant stumping up a bill of over 200 Euros, and after all the money spent on Chrimbo, that was quite an amount.
The Salles des Fetes is also over the road from us and last year we stayed at home and I could hear the noise of the people partying while we were Johnny-no-mates. I determined then that I was going to party New Year there come hell or high water.
After showing everyobody that other reveillons were costing up to 90 Euros each and after itemising the menu, everybody decided it was good value for money after all.
Kick off was 8:30, on a very cold and foggy night. Michel (cafe proprieter) had been teasing me that we would be seated next the village drunk and his companion. She plucks out all her eyebrows and then draws in new ones that make her look like a very suprised wasp (and paints her eyelids bright shiny blue).
I was relieved to find we were nowhere near them, and surrounded by french folk. the hall was undecorated but the tables nicely laid. The room smelled of delicious food and the band were already playing.
Soup de Poisson
Fruits de mer (Oysters, prawns, bulots and half a langouste)
Melon & Foie Gras
Queues de Langoustinea a l'ail & cepes
Civet de ChevreuilPause Charentaise
Salade a Noix
Buche de Noel & Glace
First - whatever I may say to the contrary, the band was excellent. They were called Pha Si La Danser. Typical french play on words. The "Pha Si La" part is to do with french musical notation. They don't do ABCDEF like us they do Do Ray Me So like in Sound of Music. The whole name sounds like "Facile a Danser" or easy to dance.
Look at those splendid shiny shirts and pants with a stripe. They boy on sax was also the singer. he had heavily accnted french and a warbly voice that couldn't hold a note. He was brilliant. They played between every course of the meal and everybody danced. Waltzes and polkas and stuff. It was the only way to get through a meal of those proportions.
The fish soup was superb, and there was a nice Alcase white to go with it. (Did I mention that all the wine was included in the price?), and the next course, the fruits de mer was very generous. There were oysters and prawns, and big whelk-like things called bulots and a langouste cut in half. This had a tail bigger than a prawn, but smaller than a crayfish, and a claw about 10cm long. The claw was already cracked and contained delicious salmon-red meat. Many of my neighbours didn't like their whelks which were a bit rubbery, but had a peppery kick to them. They all ended up on my plate and I must have had more than 20 of the things.
Below is my father-in-law Byron and my son Callan busy with oysters.
I won't detail every dish, but they were all great and I would have been happy with any one of them alone for a normal meal.
At midnight balloons and streamers, hats, horns, poppers and pea-shooters were issued, and there was much kissing and good-wishing going on. Us men got to do the manly gallic kissing, the only time off the football field men are allowed to kiss each other. Briony took advantage of the red noses for a photo op.
and this is me fairly pissed, reloading a pea-shooter
We staggered home at about 3:00 am and we were in the first wave of leavers. Speaking to some of the guests afterwards, they were there dancing till after 4:00.