Thursday, May 22, 2008

Graduation Celebration!

We celebrated a few special occasions in the rue des pyrenees family last night. Emanuel turned 40 years old a couple of weeks ago, I graduated from the Univeristy of Arkansas with my Master's degree in Food Science, and my American buddy Amanda is heading back to the states on Tuesday. So, how do you celebrate in France. Eat and enjoy some wine! This bird came from a local farmer outside of Toulouse, not a grocery freezer as you can tell! We aren't going to eat its head are we?
I am called the "Sommelier" due to my wine studies here in France and Madame Luthie always puts me in charge of the wine. She served a 200? Bordeaux Sauvignon blanc sec with a Tarte d'Aubergine (savory tarte with baked eggplant and chevre cheese). The wine was spicy favoring more acidic fruits like lemon and grapefruit. For the roasted chicken and stuffing, we had a very nice 2002 Bordeaux Graves that was excellent. Light bodied with fruit that carried into a very nice finish of mild tannins. That white table clothe would be getting some bleach treatment in the morning after I got done pouring the wine :)
I created my first French cheese tray for the 4th course of the 5-course meal. Some giant red grapes, fraise (strawberry), pain de fig (fig bread that tasted just like a Fig Newton!), Edom (Holland cheese), chevre blanc (soft goat cheese yogourt), and a Morbier Fromier (French Monk cheese). I knocked the french socks off of them with the combination of the chevre cheese and the fig bread. The french don't typically mix cheeses with accompaniments, but this combination of sour, sweet, and cheesy was a smashing hit!
No celebration is complete with out a cake and a little Champagne. Homemade crust with a citron (lemon) filling and meringue on top. Jolly!
The cake was for Emanuel, all 40 years old of him. I had to force a celebration for this special occasion, as the French don't see 40 as so much of a milestone as we Americans do. Luckily, we all got a piece of the pie..........I mean cake. After 4 hours, 2 bottles of Champagne, a red Bordeaux, 1/2 a bottle of white Bordeaux, a full 5-course meal, and a cafe and some chocolate, everyone in the family was ready for bed. The occasions are wonderful memories and I don't think I will ever be able to just "grab-a-bite" to eat in America again! Oh yeah, I graduated from college again. It doesn't seem real that I have completed this academic chapter in my life since I am in such a distant place away from that former life. Kind of like Alice in Wonderland, except with better food! Cheers to that and congrats to my fiancee Kristen who also graduated with her Master's of Business Administration (MBA). We shall celebrate with another dinner when you get here on June 25th!

1 comment:

Jonas said...

Hello fellow CHS alumni! I heard from a friend of yours that you were living in France working on a wine project, and thanks to this hip new website service called "Google" I found your blog! Great blog BTW, awesome stories, photos, and descriptions. Congrats on your engagement also (better late than never?).. What a foodie you have become and practically a sommelier, oh how I wish I was in France enjoying such wines! You gotta give me an e-mail sometime so we can ketchup. it's my first name, dot, last name at gmail.