I went down with my firsbee friend Jean-Gael to his parents mobile home near the beach. After getting there, we played a little Petanque and scoped out the beach before finding out we were eating dinner at his parents friends place. So here we go, first EVER real home cooked french meal. And if you ever have a chance to do this, don't hesitate, and say yes!
The dinner started off with some 'apperitifs,' or before dinner drinks. Followed by some 'entrees,' or appetizers. Sounds normal, right? Let me tell you a little more. The apperitifs were drinks, as you might expect, however, what you might not expect is that the drinks were all homemade. I'm talking boiling some plant with sucre at 90 degrees C home made.
by the way home made is 'fait maison' en francais and that was the theme for the night. The entrees consisted of about 10 different plates of stuff that I can't fully remember, but I do remember the fait maison sauces being excellent.
After a very leasurly start to the meal we moved from the hearth area to the kitchen table, were we sat a talked a little longer while the main dish, Fondue, was being prepared. The meat consisted of 'viande' (turkey) and 'boeuf' (cow). It was all very good. However, you had to be careful when preparing the boeuf because you should only set it in the pot for a few seconds, otherwise your meat won't be 'saignon,' or rare. Also, unlike the united states, there wasn't a separate plate for the raw and cooked meats. This is France baby, and you have to have a good immune system.
Once the flame burnt out from under the fondue pot all the meat was temporarily taken away. I was a little shocked considering how much there was left, but again, this was my first real home made French meal. Well, the key word here is temporarily, because it would come back. We were just taking a break in the middle of our meal typically known as a 'Trou Normand.' This trou normand basically consisted of us drinking a VERY strong glass of alcohol (again home made) with a scoop of sherbert in it. The first drink took me back quite a bit, but after the next, and the next, it started to grow on me. The trou normand is suppose to help you digest your food, so that during the second half of the meal, you can eat more. ;)
After the main course ended about 7 different types of cheeses were brought out. Some pasteurized, some unpasteurized. I tried all of them, and some of them were ok, and some of them gave me bad breath for 2 weeks. I'm still glad I tried them though. A delicious cake dessert was brought out afterwards followed by the 'digestif,' or the after dinner drink. Or in my case, drinks, considering they figured out I was willing to try everything and they had so many different home made liquors.
We chatted some more at the end of the meal and eventually we said our goodbyes. What a wonderful experience this was for me. It was one that I will never forget. and oh yeah, I forgot to mention that my friends parents and their friends don't speak english, so you could say I polished up on my French a little bit during the weekend.
Sunday we got up and hit the Mediterranean for a little water skiing followed by some frisbee on the beach (see video). All in all, A+ weekend, and a great cultural experience. I would like to publicly thank J-G's parents for letting me stay at their house, and their friends for their wonderful hospitality.