The five-hour meal was gorgeous. It started – after dealing with an extensive selection of “amuse bouches” with a hefty portion of salmon on a crouton and a bed of lentils, with salad. Any normal evening that would have been enough for us. Then came a dish of scallops with a creamy, buttery sauce, which we mopped up with the superb home-made bread rolls.
The interlude of the traditional trou Normande (Norman hole) designed to clear the way for more food was a delicious apple sorbet with a slug of Calvados poured over. Next was almost my nemesis: a large, thick fillet steak with accompaniments, which I couldn’t even get halfway through.
The songs and stories started at about the cheese and salad course, and continued unabated until 1 am. The dessert was an elegant line of small treats – peach icecream on a tuile, a raspberry thingy, a cream filled macaron, a puff pastry surprise and an apple roll. A copious selection of petits fours, which hardly anyone touched, was served with the coffee.
The whole marathon feast started with champagne and progressed through a procession of wines chablis with the fish, then rosé (very popular with our carnival float-making friends) to a full-blooded Bordeaux with the meat and cheese courses, followed by a dessert wine….
Needless to say I made my champagne last most of the evening – I have no head for alcohol. Next to me was sitting Monsieur le maire, and he didn’t hold back!
Jock told the story of his first in-laws 65th wedding anniversary when Grandpa (and Jock) sang the beautiful love song When you were sweet sixteen. Grandma was highly embarrassed and was heard to ask if someone would make the old fool sit down! This prompted our host to sing a similar song to his lovely wife Germaine. The repertoire went downhill from there, with slightly bawdy songs and stories at which some of the prim elderly ladies looked down their noses.
Jock and I were really flagging by then, as were the restaurant staff of two young girls who had worked so well to serve us and cleared up round us. We thought the party would go on all night, but the chef came in and was cheered and kissed with multiple bisous and then there were slight signs of a winding down. We declined the invitation to go back to our host’s house, and set out through pouring rain to find the car in the distant car park, arriving home at about 2 .oo am. Sunday lunch will be tea and toast.