Monday, March 4, 2013
I was skim coating the walls on our "new" first floor bathroom, when I heard a truck approach the house. I ventured out through the old barn, and walked the short distance to the pick-up. It was one of our neighbors, this guy is huge, not fat or tall, just stocky. He had cows when we moved here, but now he switched to sheep. We got to know he and his wife pretty well. I have helped him on occasion, and driven with him when he purchased Rams, we would joke on the return trip "what a thankless job rams had."
He is also known to have quite an appetite, he is more honour bound than anyone I've ever met. I have never crossed anyone that I can honestly remember, but the last person I would cross would be this guy. He is also; once you get to know him hysterical, he will say something offhanded, walk away and a sea of laughs erupts in his wake.
Last year Cindy and I went to a Bastille Day lunch (4 f-ing hours of heaven) in this beautiful vineyard as their guests. There's something magnetic about him, the ladies serving would ensure that he had THREE entrecote''s (our equivalent of sirloin), I scored a second by being next to him.
So I walked over to his pick-up and he announced that Sunday at 12:00 we were to meet he and his wife over at the Salle de Fete. ( local meeting hall) His telling us is the equivalent of politely asking by other peoples standards. The occasion, the Hunters Feast.
Our small village of Saint Jean de Duras, has probably 250 as a population. We are the only Americans (I should say North Americans) so we keep up our part of the bargain by attending all the Fete's- (soiree'). Community is very important in this country, and we are getting to be known by our towns elders now.
Cindy and I arrive and greet every one and their uncle-literally. Cindy then drives back to the house to get out pick-nic-basket with plates, forks, knives, spoons-wine glasses. And we pay the 20 euro's each for entry. We were on the reservations thanks to our friend. We all sat at the same table, we knew over half ot the 16 people there.
After the reading of the menu to the gathered guests, they passed around pictures(not photo's, keep up fer christ sake) of an appertife'. This was their usual blend of what tasted like boxed wine, gator-aid and apricot schnapps. I've never cared for it, so I limited my self to just two glasses of it.....don't want to seem ungrateful ( yeah, that ship sailed along time ago) . In my opinion it wasn't starting well. That wine blend always makes me feel like we're heading off to back country anchovy loaf and bologna.
Nope, next out was a terrine of hot soup, vegetable base and hearty. It was good, but kept thinking the Meatloaf with a can of mushroom soup-sauce was up next.
We all had some Rose' while awaiting the next course. We scored on the wine front though as one of the four vintners of our town supplied the wine.
Next course was the Salad,sliced tomato's, shredded carrots, and cubed beets. The flavor of all three was perfect, our friend announced that during Fete's he was relieved of eating salads. His wife had gone to help out in the kitchen. I was still teetering on is this food going to go deep country or make a left into the Haute' cuisine of rural France.
Then they brought out the cold terrines of Sanglier' (Wild Boar)
Bam! Pow! KaBoom!
They did a sharp left to incredible! The most basic comparison would be a cold meatloaf, but that sounds too insulting. First they bring out thin baguette sliced toast, and a raw clove of garlic, and you proceed to rub it into the crispy toast. Then with your slice of the Wild boar-loaf you portion a small amount onto a piece of your hot garlic toast and Viola'. Crazy good.....Oh forgot to mention at this point they brought out the pictures ( not photo's- i'm warning yah!) of the red local wine. This was his reserve, they were doling out the good stuff.
It was at this point that I had to leave for 40 minutes, to pick up Caleigh at home and drive her to Saint Foy Le Grand, where she an a girlfriend were meeting. They are visiting her friends father for three days in Bordeaux.
I raced back to the Fete' and sat down as they had served me a slice of the local tiny deer. I ate it, interesting flavor, a little dry.
Then they served the Grilled Wild Boar, This was the headliner. It was prepared over vine stock, old vines that were the traditional wood for bar-be-queing. We have a supply at Petit Clos, which we use during the summer months. Cindy had an in depth discussion on the preparing and ingredients for the Boar marinade.
Then we all relaxed with a glass or two of the aforementioned Red wine, and a fresh fruit torte' was brought out. They replaced all the EMPTY pictures ( don't get me started again) with bottles of a light sweet white wine. A new weakness. It's all about pairings,, the red and the Boar, the sweet white and the torte. Ooooof!
Sure it took a total of six hours but we survived the Annual Hunters Feast. After they drew the winning tickets, about thirty winners, who won various cuts of wild game. O.K. off to sleep for a week. Heavens that was hard work. Cheers Hank