Thursday, January 03, 2008

Christmas (the 24th and the 25th)

The next day, after waking up late, we headed to Montpellier for some last-minute Christmas shopping. We had already gotten gifts for everyone, but we wanted to add an iTunes gift card to le Parisien's bounty and pick up some wrapping paper. And of course, I wanted to visit my favorite town, get a crepe from my favorite crepe stand, and take some pictures.

Les Trois Graces, looking as beautiful as ever.

After we got home, Belle-Maman made us put on nice clothes for Christmas Eve dinner. Although Jube grumbled a bit, we dressed up and waited around for his relatives to arrive. They are always late, and everyone teased Belle-Maman for having told them to arrive between 8:30 and 9:00 - we knew they wouldn't get there before 9:15.

We had a wonderful Christmas feast, which included homemade foie gras (gorgeous and tasty); oysters (ick); little "oriental" (middle-eastern) meaty appetizers with salad; and fish wrapped in crispy ham with an orange cream sauce. Everything was wonderful except for the oysters, but everyone else seemed to enjoy them!

After dinner we opened up our presents. Le Pacha was initially quite disappointed... For some reason, he was convinced that "le Papa Noel americain" was going to bring him an iPod, when in reality the American Santa Claus brought him a polar fleece from Old Navy. He was further disillusioned when he unwrapped the package my mother had sent from the US to find an Xbox 360 - a box that turned out to be filled with food and candles. Happily, le Parisien had given him a brand new cell phone that triples as a camera and an mp3 player, so he ended up with at least a little bit of the electronics of his dreams.

The next day we woke up late again. As I stumbled downstairs, I noticed that the table was set with the nice china and silverware. That was when I remembered that Memee was coming for Christmas lunch, and we would have more gifts to open. I quickly dressed and was presentable in time for the aperitif - Beau-Papa's delectable pate en croute:
(How delicately he cuts it!)

For this meal, we had turkey with chestnuts and the Belle-Famille's favorite mushrooms, cepes.
As our first course, we had more of Belle-Maman's foie gras - you can see the only remains, the yellow fat, on our plates.

We ended the meal with a homemade buche de noel.
After lunch, le Parisien decided to take us to Montpellier's new aquarium, le Mare Nostrum. We checked online to make sure it was open, and then headed out. When we arrived, we discovered that there had been an error on the website, and it was actually closed. Many families stood around the door, complaining about the misinformation. We headed back to Gallargues, a bit disappointed but with the knowledge that leftovers awaited us at the house...

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