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Christmas Eve in France…Christmas Day in Texas

Man – Oh – Man!! It has been so hectic here in the states for my holiday visit home. All the get togethers, wine “tastings”, checking off all the must-eats and must-sees is no easy task. I have stockpiled videos, photos and stories of my adventures here to share with you. So without further ado…let the recapping begin!!

It all started on Christmas Eve…in Nantes, France. We drove up to this Brittany city to spend the Eve with Frenchie’s family. If you are new to the blog, Frenchie is my boyfriend, and in case it isn’t obvious, he is in fact french =P. I am always excited to visit Frenchie’s fam. I always know there will be lots of laughter, delicious food, great wine and the best part, I get to subject them to my “fluent” french. Needless to say, for Christmas Eve, they pulled out all the stops.

First was the Christmas Eve Lunch. It began with a favorite of mine, OYSTERS!! I am a Gulf of Mexico gal, so I immediately ask for cocktail sauce, horseradish and some saltine crackers… and got nothing but blank stares. I am sure they were thinking, “[insert french accent] Gasp, Catasrophe! Of course ze american wants to defile zis delicious oyster vis all zis je ne sais quoi!” Ok, maybe not quite, but all I know is that you do not stand in the way of the french and their love for strange textured foods. So I ate these oysters ‘au naturale‘ … I have to say… I prefer these slimy little creatures ‘doctored up’ a bit, but hey….”when in Rome”

We had this 2008 Cheverny (a Loire Valley wine) from the winemakers of Mont Pres Chambord with the oysters. It was a nice wine by itself, but I think not the best pairing for the oysters. It had a hint of sweetness on it that just didn’t belong with the oysters, that or I have been turned into a Loire Valley purist when it comes to the wine to have with these pearl-making shell creatures, which is naturally a Muscadet! I’m trying to score points with Frenchie’s family on that one ;) In any case, I did what any true wineaux would do and I just held off on drinking the wine until I finished the oysters. I enjoyed the two much better that way!

Next was sea bass, or as the french call it “Bar” (emphasis on the french ‘R’). I am a huge fan of the ba”R” and had two helpings of this dish! The Cheverny wine went a lot better with this! Perhaps the acidity of the lemon butter sauce and the thicker texture of the fish brought out the flavors in the wine better. Or vice versa.

My FAVORITE part of any french meal….the cheese plate!!

We paired the cheese with this STELLAR 2005 Chateau Prieure-Lichine from the Margaux appellation of Bordeaux. This was a wine that the angels came out to sing for. It may only be classified as a fourth growth (out of five) in Bordeaux but it had a first class taste!!

My mouth is still watering!

Creme Brulee for dessert… I am not a dessert kinda gal, but I can make an exception for the creme brulee. I only was able to eat a third of it, but the part I did eat was delightful.

I was so FULL from all the food!! My Food Coma Meter reached an all time high! And that was just Lunch!!

NOW FOR THE CHRISTMAS EVE DINNER!!!

The tree with all the presents!

The table decoration!

The amuse-bouche!! Mmmm

My cutie-pie of a dog, Miss Dolce!

Mommy and Daugh’ger =)

Cheesy Cubes! Cute! Grandma Frenchie was entertained!

Mumm’s the Word!!

No Christmas Eve celebration is complete without some Champagne!!

I know foie gras is not made in the most humane of methods…but it is soooooooooo sinfully good! This ‘slab’ of foie gras was the largest and literally the best foie gras I have ever tasted! And it went PERFECTLY with this 2008 Burgundian Saint-Veran from Domaine Larochette Manciat. If you haven’t tried the Saint-Veran region of Burgundy yet, get on it. It has become one of my preferred white wine appellations. This bottle had the perfect amount of ’roundness’ to it, the entire palette was coated. The wine evolved over the time we were drinking it, showing new scents and tastes with each drink. I remember the citrus, white flower, melonish and apple…..mmmmm! I think the white wines from Saint Veran are one of the most incredible ‘hidden deals’ you will come across!

Oh Saint-Veran, how I love thee!

And just when you started to think I was eating like a KING….they bring out the LANGOUSTE…aka SPINEY LOBSTER!

Can you say “HeaveN” ?

So my tummy was in food overload, when they brought out the turkey!! Ahhhhh this a true feast!

I had been asked to prepare some southern US dishes to go with the turkey so naturally I made sweet potato casserole…

Green Been Casserole…

and some loaded mashed potatoes!!

My american dishes were a success!! And what better to pair with a turkey dinner than a Pinot Noir from Burgundy!! We had the 2007 Bourgogne (Burgundy) Hautes Cotes de Nuits “Les Renardes” from Domaine Thevenot-Le Brun & Fils. We picked up this wine and the Saint Veran wine from a wine expo in Dijon in early December (documented this experience as well, so it will be a future post) Frenchie and I found this wine when we first moved to Dijon. We went to eat at Le Chabrot Restaurant/Wine Bar and ordered this wine. We found it to be a great deal for the price and we usually order this bottle every time we go to Le Chabrot. When we found them at the expo, we stocked up on their bottles (you pay a lot less when you buy direct).

Here was a snapshot of my dinner plate…

I didn’t think I could go on….

Until I saw THIS !!!!!! How could you pass this up? My name is The Ceci Sipper and I am a cheese-aholic!

One of my presents was Trivial Pursuit ‘The Wine Edition’ (in french). Yay for board games about wine and yay for a way to practice my french!!

The Whole Frenchie Family

And last but not least, the dessert! It was a homemade raspberry, apple, almond, meringue delight made by Uncle Frenchie. It was good, but I only ate a couple bites otherwise I would have exploded!

So there you have it, the recap of Christmas Eve in France!

Next up, Christmas Day in Texas!!

I am so happy to be back to blogging here on Vinously Speaking after my Holiday Hiatus! Missed ya’ll a bunch!! See ya’ll soon!

Vinously Speaking & Vinously Yours!
The Ceci Sipper!

  2 comments for “Christmas Eve in France…Christmas Day in Texas

  1. The Savvy Sipper
    January 7, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    This looks way to wonderful! And thanks for the tip on Saint Veran!

  2. Veronique - The American formerly known as Ceci
    January 7, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    Of course! I am consistently impressed with this appellation. I think it is an amazing region that has yet to be discovered by the masses, so buy it up before the wine critics get their paws on it and push the prices through the roof! I just saw some Saint Veran at the new Specs store by the Forum.

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