Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Eve
I woke up completely refreshed. Jetlag isn’t even a possibility given my body has no idea what time or day it is. It’s cold outside, but all the snow is gone, which makes me a little sad, but I’ll see plenty of snow soon enough. This is where the eating begins. There’s nothing like French food and my aunt Dany might be the best cook in France. Ormoy is a tiny village. Only has about 10 houses and they are all farm houses. Our family is scattered around a bunch of other small villages in the area, which is called Eure et Loire. All the houses are the typical stone you see in all the movies and pictures. Dany’s house used to be a barber shop and horse stable. During WW2, the Germans invaded Ormoy and lived in all the houses on the street. There is even a little alcove outside where they kept a German as a prisoner since he wouldn’t fight in the war. We’re not sure what happened to him, but I so wish these walls could talk.

She lives across the street from Mr. and Mrs. Bire, the local farmers which actually serve as the grocery store for the village. It’s a completely different way of life. You need something for dinner? Let’s walk across the street and see what vegetables are available and what form of animal was killed this morning (chicken, goose, rabbit, pheasant, etc.). The Bire’s are now retired, but might be the cutest farmer couple I’ve ever met. I grew up vacationing here and have known them pretty much my entire life. I swear they look the exact same. Other than her walking being extremely slow, Mrs. Bire has the best skin I’ve ever seen. It must be the country air and the organic vegetables. And Mr. Bire has the same demeanor he’s always had – cheery and happy. He recently had a tractor accident and he’s now on crutches, but he still looks amazing.

Since we’re in the middle of nowhere, there are shops that come in their little trucks to each of the villages. Everyday is a different truck. My favorite is the Boulangerie (bakery) of course. She comes at noon and I can’t wait. We sit at the kitchen table with our coffees until noon in our sweats and wait for the honking of the Boulangerie truck. Rush out there and find everyone from the village and wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Mr. and Mrs. Bire are both there and I quickly grab our 5 baguettes. I can’t help myself and start eating one.

Mom and I then decide to take a little stroll down the street to see the other farm houses and find some donkeys! That’s definitely new. So cute!

At 6:00, the rest of the family comes (cousin, cousin’s husband, cousin’s 2 year old Tom, Aunt Mihcelle, cousin Valentin) and we start drinking and eating. This goes on until about 10pm after our cheese course. Yes, there are many courses. You start with appetizers, then starter, then entrée, then salad, then cheese, then dessert, then coffee with truffles, then champagne. Christmas menu below.

Appetizers: handmade sushi (Valentin’s specialty), Vache Qui Ri Cheese
Starter: Oysters (I ate 20!!!!)
Starter: Foie Gras with onion confit
Entrée: Roasted duck with yams
Salad: Green salad with vinaigrette
Cheese: Chevre, Brie, Roquefort, and Gruyere
Dessert: Bouche de Noel a Café
Truffles: Jacques de Bruges

To drink we had about 5 bottles of wine, 3 bottles of champagne. Delicious.

We opened presents at 10pm. The room was overflowing with presents. It was great to have a kid with us to watch him play with all his toys. He loves cooking so got a little mini kitchen, which makes actual noises. It got a little annoying, but the wine helped.

We finally went to bed around 1, which means we were at the table for 6 hours. That’s typical though! There’s more of those to come…..

Christmas tree

Uncle Remy with my hat

Aunt Dany with the Jacques Bruges truffels

Busy streets of Ormoy

Cute farmhouse

Me and my donkey friend

Mr Bire, my baguette and me

Me and Mrs. Bire

Duck - quack quack yum yum

Uncle Remy shucking oysters

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