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Christmas in the Beaujolais

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This was our first Christmas (together) in the Beaujolais and like all of the regions of France, people have their regional and seasonal specialties that they like to enjoy over the holidays. Getting together with family is similar to the US so you take that and then add on food and wine and lots of it. And then some more and perhaps just a bit more. We crawled back to Paris last night, still in pain from the visit. Joelle's 94 year old grandmother Colette was in good spirits and her children and grandchildren and great grandchildren all enjoyed spending time with her.

I hope that everyone had an excellent holiday and had an opportunity to spend time with family and friends. Thank you for the Christmas gift and some photos below of our Christmas down in the Beaujolais. We're going to need this weekend to recover.

"Cardon" is typical in the region and hard to find in Paris. (I understand it's typically eaten in Italy as well at this time of the year.) Our "light" Christmas Eve dinner involved some politically-incorrect-food-that-shall-remain-nameless (Christmas Day as well and surely on New Years too), smoked salmon and oysters from Ile-de-Re, where our host was raised. And then the "cardon" arrived. It was so good and impossible to not to kindly accept seconds. (In English it's "cardoon" or artichoke thistle.) The taste was similar to artichoke hearts.

Sushi & Nasdaq's family at the family home. (This is the house where the cats were born.) She's a cousin and just as lovable and affectionate as our cats and pulled the same stunt that Sushi started recently, which is to jump on my lap during dinner.

Christmas morning overlooking the Beaujolais vines.

Joelle and sister Marielle finishing the table. On the wall are sketches of the family that were done during WWII, and a few years after, by a Jewish refugee from Eastern Europe who the family hid in their attic from the Nazis. He started the family portraits (7 children) during the war though he never finished, thanks to the war ending. He later came back to France, after going back home and learning that the rest of his family had perished in the Holocaust. Joelle's grandmother Colette also lost her brother in the Hell Train of July 1944. (He was picked up by the Nazis shortly after D-Day, and charged with sending messages to the Allies as part of the French Resistance. They summarily executed him.)

Lovely place setting courtesy of Joelle and her godmother Agnes.

Joelle's dad (Remi) serving the Champagne to one of our aunts. Colette - Joelle's grandmother - lived in Champagne as a child and has always loved Champagne so we brought a magnum from a producer we recently met. (Pierre Moncuit offers an elegant Champagne and good value.) At Colette's first communion she asked for and received Champagne. No such luck in my household as I asked for pity to skip the communion in the nasty church in Philly.

Cousin Antoine cutting the cervelas, a typical sausage from the region eaten at this time of the year. We had "normal", pistachio and pistachio with truffles.

Joelle's grandmother Colette, surrounded by two of her sons Remi & Hubert enjoying a laugh.

Guineafowl for the main course.

The chestnuts, a new favorite for me this year.

The veggies...asparagus wrapped in bacon.

The cheese plate.

And of course, a second cheese plate.

The sun eventually arrived, just in time for our departure.

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