Monday, February 13, 2012
It was a triumph ........
A glass of wine before your "very hot bath" Monsieur Langoustine
Now that we’ve had a day to recover from the effects of the dinner party on Saturday night we can report on how it went. I think it is safe to say that it was a triumph – and possibly one of the best we have had.
Our guests all arrived on time (with the appropriate bags full of bottles of wine) and the frivolities began almost immediately, helped along by several glasses of something chilled and sparkly!
Despite a menu which included several untested recipes and required a larger than usual amount of ‘a la minute’ preparation the food was fantastic (even though we say so ourselves) and appreciated by all concerned by the appropriate oohs and ahhs and gesticulations of absolute pleasure. There was even a ‘When Harry Met Sally’ moment from Benedicte when she tasted the dessert.
We were reliably informed by Amelie, our bar owning friend last night that Benedicte and Patric had been in earlier and had said that it was the best food they had ever had at a dinner party! How chuffed were we???.
(Feel free to send a comment and I will be happy to send recipes to anyone interested.)
Most importantly for us the conversation (all french) flowed easily (with only minor stutterings and delvings into the dictionary).
How very different to the first dinner party we forced ourselves to host four years ago.
Despite it being with Amelie and Benjamin, two of the nicest people you could wish to meet the propsect of cooking for a french couple in addition to an evening of conversation all in french terrified us (well me at least – Darren was taking everything much less seriously) - so much so that the food production was secondary in my preparation thoughts.
The food was good but the hours spent with Google translate and my little black exercise book in the week prior paid great dividends. I had prepared an endless list of appropriate conversation starters and possible replies to our guests responses – I think I must have sounded like a taxi driver or a hairdresser as I regulalry asked questions like ‘Have you been away on holiday this year?’, ‘Has the weather been good this year?’, ‘How has your business been this year?’, ‘How many bank holiday are there here in France?’, and ‘Which is the best restaurant in St Malo?’. Whether or not I got the responses I wanted or indeed understood them I don’t know but I made a suitable contribution to the conversation and for me that was a great achievement. Of course as the wine flowed my ability (or at least my perceived ability) improved enormously! I still have the little black book and we all still laugh about it now.
Over the last four years there have been many more dinner parties and many more guests and we have developed a good local reputation as great hosts. I think this time though the French conceded defeat and at the end of the evening took us to the bar for a victory coffee and calvados. Does life get any better than that – yes – Darren had even done most of the washing up between courses so we returned to a clean kitchen as well!
Happy days ..........