Mulled Wine and Chestnuts with the Locals

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It’s one of those dull and dreary rainy days in December with little motivation to venture much further than the fireside but our local association, Les Amis des Grouets, is having its annual mulled wine and chestnut evening just down the road at 6 pm and we missed it last year.

This year's Christmas cake

This year’s Christmas cake

The Christmas cake is in the oven but this year only Jean Michel was able to stir and make a wish in person. Black Cat and I chatted on skype while I was making the cake (she was ironing in New York!) and she made a virtual wish.

So, umbrellas open, we call in to collect Françoise and Paul on the way. As we get close to the church, we can hear accordion music and see fairy lights.

We pay our annual dues and buy a ticket each. Fortunately, there are a couple of tents (no doubt the same ones that were used for the bread baking day in May when it was also raining …) but surprisingly, the rain lets up completely.

Accordian player

Accordian player

We are given a white paper bag to collect our chestnuts and raffle tickets to get a plastic cup of mulled wine. We’re allowed refills, we’re told.

Quite a few people eventually arrive but very few children which is a pity. However, the ones that are there have a lovely time roasting marshmallows over an open fire.

The chestnut burner is manned by Norbert, who was the baker on bread baking day, and the postman who doesn’t actually live in Les Grouets but likes the neighbourhood so much that he comes back after work.

Roasting marshmallows over the open fire

Roasting marshmallows over the open fire

We are starting to recognise a few people. Françoise introduces a neighbour who is a retired mason and once did some work on our house, but he can’t remember the details.

I explain to his wife how to make foie gras au sel as we spent a fun day last week with Françoise and Paul and Susan and Simon from Days on the Claise teaching them how to devein foie gras ready for Christmas. For a detailed description of our workshop, I suggest you go over to Susan’s blog.

Françoise, Susan, Simon and Paul tasting the vouvray used for the foie gras

Françoise, Susan, Simon and Paul tasting the vouvray used for the foie gras

In return, the mason’s wife promises to send me her kugelhof recipe. I’m not a great kugelhof fan but it seems this is a variant so I shall try it out for Christmas. Which reminds me that I should also make Liliane’s gingerbread cake as well.

All_About_France_blog_linky_xmasI’m linking this post to Lou Messugo’s Christmas edition of the All About France monthly link-up. For other entries, click here.

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13 Responses to Mulled Wine and Chestnuts with the Locals

  1. This sounds very festive! Our village doesn’t do anything for the holiday season.
    Do you have a daughter who lives in New York? Because so do I…

    • Rosemary Kneipp says:

      Last year, there was a Christmas dinner as well but no one seems to have organised it this year! The “baker” in particular seems very active. I forgot to mention that his family used to rent part of our house many long years ago. The lady whom we met previously was there as well http://www.aussieinfrance.com/2014/04/the-house-of-happiness/.
      I’m looking forward to organising a street party for neighbours’ day!

  2. Susan Walter says:

    Those people in the last photo look like they are having a good time 🙂

  3. Helen says:

    Your Christmas cake is begging someone to dip their finger in for a taste test before cooking. If only I were closer!!!
    I was in Brisbane’s King George Square last night for the Christmas parade and light show projected on City Hall. Thankfully the weather is a little cooler at present so a most enjoyable evening with friends but your wintry events seem so much more so.

  4. It looks like a lot of fun!

  5. It looks like you have such a nice community – what a lovely event! And your Christmas cake looks wonderful 🙂

    • Rosemary Kneipp says:

      Yes, we feel very lucky, particularly as we’ve only been here permanently since the end of October.
      My Christmas recipe was handed down by my grandmother (whom I never knew).

  6. What a lovely festive post, I wonder if you’ll go again this year? I think you’re very brave making your own foie gras, I love it, but prefer someone else to deal with it! Thanks for linking up with #AllAboutFrance

  7. Jacob says:

    What a great community with a lot of fun. By the way, I never saw Christmas cake like that before, looks tasty!

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