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.


Henry the Dog said...

Mum did her Christmas food shopping on Monday - she said it was fab - totally empty. She went into town really early this morning with Uncle Hugh and got some extra stuff from the fresh market there, but she said it was "trayshair";) Mum's doing roast sprouts with the dinner tomorrow -like the ones you blogged about. Hope you have a brilliant Christmas - all the best to Mr FF too (and his mum). xxxxx

Lane said...

Your planned meal sounds wonderful. Enjoy!

Happy Christmas to you, Misty and Poppy and wishing you all good things for next year:-)

justme said...

Have a wonderful xmas! I shall be having scallops too. But with peas and cream on pasta.....yummy!

French Fancy said...

Henry - I've been in and out of the shops all this week but this morning was to get the freshest bread etc. Market food is very expensive here, it's the reverse of the UK in that respect.

Anyway I wish you, your lovely mum and Uncle Hugh the happiest Christmas in the world -okay, in your corner of France

Lane - I'm about to do the oven timetable for tomorrow. I used to have a double oven in our UK house and it was so much easier than just the one like I have now. I want to wish you also the Happiest Christmas in your corner of the world. Extra hugs for Teas and Pegs and The Teenager.

French Fancy said...

Henry - p,s, enjoy the sprouts - once you've tried them roasted you won't want any other cooking way.But remember to pierce them lots of times with the fork - so they go all squishy.

Justme - it sounds fabulous. I love scallops and till we came here had never tried them. I've not tried frogs legs, snails or oysters yet though. Merry Christmas and I hope that next year is a bit happier for you

Dumdad said...

Being an Anglo-Frog family, we mix and match stuff for Christmas.

We'll be réveillonner tonight but start much earlier at around 8pm. This year we're starting with foie gras followed by scallops (just like you) then cheese and dessert.

Tomorrow we'll have the traditional turkey and stuff. Before we eat we'll pull our crackers (specially brought over from Marks and Sparks).

Joyeux Noël!

Larry M. Brow said...

Merry Christmas. Oddly enough, given America's reputation for gluttony, I don't know what we have planned for meals on Christmas or Christmas Eve. Perhaps I just haven't been told. But we did our traveling last weekend so we'll likely just flop about the house enjoying our presents. Of course, with the six year old I should be expecting to do something out in the snow. I also need to glaze and fire a load of pots today so that I can deliver a new pitcher to friends on Christmas, so, off to work!


Cynthia said...

We also have a custom here in Puerto Rico to celebrate Nochebuena on Christmas eve. I've had many late pre-Christmas nights only to wake up early so that I can get the gifts under the tree before the kids wake up. I confess that I have sent them back to bed, "It's too early for Christmas." My husband enjoys both traditions and we leave our tree up well into January because of the Three Kings Day (Jan 6) celebration...then for eight days after parties continue...then it's time for the tree to come down. Back in the US we took our tree down on Jan 2...everyone said get these pine needles, and such out of here! We're between traditions here. Have a joyful holiday!

Frankofile said...

No sprouts (!!) in our supermarkets. But no queues either.

East Anglian Troy said...

The ASDA at Ipswich yesterday was heaving with people - I just had to get out quickly. So not sure if they were all buying oysters or chocolate logs - probably not!

My best wishes toi you for a Happy Christmas and may all your wishes come true in 2009.

Mama said...

Happy Christmas FF, I am so glad it rained that day in London or I might never have met you, I have enjoyed your posts very much. This sounds a lot like all the Italian blogs I have been reading "The Feast of the Seven Fishes" is celebrated on xmas eve. I love, love, love scallops and your's sound delicious. I could not find a Chocolate log anywhere :0(

Have fun, all the very best for the New Year my friend, big hugs, Kathy.

Jessica said...

Yum, sounds lovely! You have a Merry Christmas too! :)

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Sounds very yummy. I think the Spanish do something similar on Christmas Eve. Their traditional Christmas is on 6th January, el dia de los reyes, but I think they give presents on Dec 25th and Jan 6th. Must be an expensive business!

We do cheese and then dessert in our family so I get fazed when it's the other way round. I prefer the savory stuff and then the sweet...

Have a fab Christmas and a wonderful New Year 2009! Muchas felicidades! Hadriana xx

Hadriana's Treasures said...

PS: Always meant to say that I enjoy reading your's one of my favourites. I might not have time to read everything that you post but I try to.

Hope the cough is better (we are afflicted by them too!)

Like the Sugar Plum Fairy Jacquie Lawson card...we hadn't seen that one!

Veggie Carrie said...

Merry Christmas French Fancy. I hope you enjoy your festive dinner. I hope your bichons get some of the turkey! I am in Quebec, and will be celebrating "le réveillon" with my inlaws at midnight!

laurie said...

this line made me laugh outloud:

The French then spend the 25th recovering and taking various potions to help their livers recover.

your blog is a delight.

merry christmas! have a slice of that chocolate roll for me!

willow said...

Merry Christmas to you and yours! :):):)

Willow x

Blu said...

Merry Christmas xxxxxxxx

lady jicky said...

We have just had our christmas day lunch. Seafood. Last night I was over at my daughters for turkey and seafood with my new grandson , baby Carlos.
if I never see food again it will be too soon!
Kisses to misty and poppy from oscar and rosie!

Bill Stankus said...

Happy Holidays!


Elizabeth said...

Gosh, yes, French people always up eating late when all sensible English people are in bed.
Sounds exotic and interesting though.
Greetings from New York

French Fancy said...

(staggers in with a big bloated belly)

Just think - 36 hours passed and I didn't go online. I spent the time eating, drinking, talking and sleeping - probably in that order.

Dumdad-did you have to translate the jokes and riddles from the crackers into English for Brainbox and Princess Perfect?

Larry - I never knew you had a young child (but then why on earth should I know? How silly of me).I suppose the pressure is on to create masterpieces out in the snow-some of the ice
sculptures I've seen online are simply wonderful.

Cynthia - I must come and get to know your blog better than I do. I'd forgotten you were in Puerto Rico.It sounds so glamorous. We didn't bother with a tree this year - we are bad Christmassers.

Frankie - I could have posted you some sprouts - I've still got a bag leftover.

Troy - and the best of seasonal greetings to you and yours, my East Anglian friend.

Mama - I echo what you said and I really hope we will get to meet up one day. Wouldn't if be funny if we hated each other on sight :). Blogland is so big and it is wonderful, truly marvellous, to find kindred spirits out there - without ever having met them. Have a very happy Hogmany (that's for Vanni)and bonne année for you.

Jessica - and Season's Greetings to you too - I've got to say that because it is already Boxing Day (a UK custom).

Hadriana- (can I call you Hade for short, not Hades:) - thanks for your (oh look, my font has changed - sorry)lovely words about my blog.I’d better go and sort this weird spacing out

French Fancy said...

Hadriana - let's hope this font is back to normal. I hope that everything goes well in your new plans. I love reading your blog too. It's hard to judge how interesting one's own drivel is.

Carrie - hello to you and your man in Quebec. The furthest I've been that way is Montreal which I adored. Are your in-laws French speaking?

laurie - thanks for your lovely words. I must come and learn more about you.

willow - Thank you sweetie and the same to you.

Blu - Have a great rest of the eating and drinking too much season.

ladyj - who gets more kisses - Rosie, Oscar or Carlos? I know what you mean about too much food - I'm still full from yesterday

Bill- same to you matey :)

Elizabeth - they do seem to eat heavy and late here but they are all so slim - I don't think the French eat between meals or graze - whereas little podgy me does both :).

(goes to rest big belly)

nikkicrumpet said...

I hope you had a lovely Christmas...and that the day brought joy to your family!

Cynthia said...

French Fancy, you are certainly welcome to come by-I recently wrote about Nochebuena in Puerto Rico-but I've been blogging so much that it could be lost--you just have to scroll down until you see the food pictures! I'm enjoying your blog.

French Fancy said...

thank you nikki, back to you m'dear

Cynthia - I'm looking forward to it

Carol and Chris said...

Ooohhh.....i didn't know the French did that!! Is it just in your neck of the woods or is it all over France? (must ask my Dad)

C x

French Fancy said...

Carol- I think Reveilloner is all over France. They do it again New Year's Eve - a big meal very late called by the same name-strange it's the same name for both really.