Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Merry Christmas to all bloggers everywhere
I had such a shock this morning. I pulled up at one of our supermarkets (we've got four in our little town, yes, get us - four), expecting the usual Chrismas Eve turnout of not many people...and I had to go into the overflow car park.
Now, bear in mind this is rural France and even at Christmas - especially with four supermarkets to choose from (I know I said that already but our town is relatively small and it's a big deal to have so many - okay, I'll shut up about it now) there are never that many people and shopping is a real pleasure.
So I went in, dreading the fact I was going to have to push my way through throngs of people - but there was nobody there. It was like a ghost town and I wondered what on earth was going on. I sauntered about, buying my fruit and veg, my cakes, pastries and bread, my last minute bits and pieces, - then I remembered that I needed some kitchen roll - that's in the far corner near the fish counter. I went towards there and all of a sudden stopped dead in my tracks - there were dozens and dozens of people in this particular corner. There might have been hundreds really - all queuing patiently for something. That's where everyone was - waiting to be served with their selection of sea food for the Christmas Eve feast.
It is a French custom to celebrate Christmas very late in the evening on the 24th December. It is a feast called le réveillon and consists of oysters, snails, various sea food delicacies and of course everyone wants to buy the freshest available. Following that there is a goose, duck or the like and then after that a chocolate log called La Buche de Noel. Yes, this happens at something like 10pm. It used to follow midnight mass but less and less people are attending this late night service and I don't blame them at all; otherwise you wouldn't finish eating until about 3 or 4am and you'd be very tired. The French then spend the 25th recovering and taking various potions to help their livers recover.
Anyway, I had to forget about the kitchen roll - it was impossible to negotiate the throngs of people wating for the fish counter. We're not having this sort of feast tomorrow - I'm beginning with a small fish platter, this is true, but it's coquille st Jacques (scallops in a creamy sauce), followed by turkey with the roasted vegetables I recently blogged about followed by a cheese platter (in France the cheese comes before the dessert) and then lastly my favourite quickie dessert I also recently blogged about (I'm in a rush so can't do links to them).
So all bloggers everywhere, I hope you have a lovely time at Christmas. If you are with other people I hope there are no petty squabbles and if you are on your own - just think, you can eat and drink and watch whatever you want whenever you want.
Merry Christmas everybody.