April 17, 2008

Back to la vie de chateau

Posted in Food, Les français, Travel tagged , , , , , at 9:52 pm by Lauren

This weekend, April 4-6, we visited Chateau Courtomer again with Mimi and Jack. They rented a bigger car so we didn’t have to mess with the train, and we all piled in on Friday after work. About 15 people came up from Paris for the weekend, mostly the same ones that were there for New Year’s, and we (or at least I) figured it was a chance to redeem the social awkwardness of that weekend. And I did speak more French this weekend (I think), though I was once again fairly useless in the kitchen.


But speaking of the kitchen, what meals we had! This group thinks nothing of spending several hours in the kitchen to concoct fabulous lunches and dinners. On Friday night we had two lasagnas, one meat and one vegetarian, along with salad and cheese. Saturday lunch was a hearty boeuf  bourgignon ladled over potatoes. There was cheese again, and so much wine, and banana bread to finish, which the French liked though they weren’t sure if it was snack or dessert.


Saturday dinner, knowing it had some excellent contenders for best meal of the weekend, went all out with piles of couscous, a vegetable stew to heap on top, and merguez and chicken. There was a cold quinoa salad with sliced radishes that I really enjoyed. For dessert, there was a perfectly white panna cotta with a rich red coulis of assorted berries.


Finally, for lunch on Sunday there was pasta with salmon (described as “un simple pate au saumon” but which was really quite good and nicer than we’d have made for ourselves for a Sunday lunch). There were also two quiches, more quinoa salad, and plenty of crusty bread. And always several bottles of wine.


Other than eat – which I must admit takes up the majority of the time, and which is also probably the most pleasant time as everyone sits around the table together talking for hours – we did very little. Allen took a long nap on Saturday afternoon, and though I intended to do some work, instead I spent most of that time playing with Michael and Katharine. Saturday after dinner Allen and I did some of the dishes and then came back into the dining room to watch a game of tarot cards, which we found to be similar to Spades (though a little more complicated). Sunday we rose late (not unlike Saturday) and were surprised (very) that the forecast of snow turned out true! It continued to snow through lunch and at least an hour of our ride home. Watching the French countryside through the thick flurries of snow was a beautiful sight.


Altogether, we had a very satisfying weekend; we practiced our French a bit, ate like kings (felicitations et merci aux chef cuisiniers!), really rested and relaxed, and experienced  an idyllic snowfall.


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