Sapin de Noël
We had a very busy weekend, here at the S-B Parisian hideaway. Started by seeking out a Julbazar for some Scandinavian goodies, and ended with a migraine, unfortunately. In between were 2 viewings of Harry Potter 4 at the Grand Écran (including an interesting incident with a french man who wasn't a fan of chair-saving and knew some nasty English words for the chair saver). The movie was enjoyable, and made even more so by attending the second time with a great bunch of friends.
Prior to this, we hit the 2005 Winter Salon Saveurs, where hundreds of french farmers, cheese makers, wine makers, spice sellers, tea makers, chocolatiers, bakers, foie gras goose neck stuffers, cow raisers, sheep herders, goat ranchers, ostrich handlers, chicken... you get the idea. Hundreds (maybe thousands) of booths, lots of samples, and a few (OK a lot) of purchases.
It was wonderful, but also overwhelming--I don't think I got a chance to spend more than 30 seconds at each stand I saw, and I know I saw less than half. In a way, I preferred the Salon Fermier, as I felt I knew more about each one due to having time to talk, and there were fewer so I could actually take the time to compare.
Nonetheless, a great time was had by all, and we are now owners of lovely Burgundy wine, a bottle of delicious champagne (I believe we will be taking this to Saarbrücken with us after Xmas), 2 kinds of Floc de Gascogne, a bag of Fleur de Sel, and some very temptin white chocolate with pistachios. No cheese this time, but there will be another I am sure. Besides, I am busy digging into my stash of Morbier, Brillat-Saverin (no galoshes, promise), and Sognier Chevre (that really tastes more like a Camembert to me--very un-chevre-y.)
We had planned to attend the Sing-Along Messiah at the American Cathedral, but migraines don't stop for anyone (save Captain Vicodin and his sidekick Super Amerge!), so a quiet night in was necessary. Planned a mild meal (anything else makes me quite naseous during an attack) and was pleasantly surprised by the wonderful flavor of the Roseval potatoes Dr. B boiled up. Served with sweet butter and crème fraiche, and topped with some salt and freshly ground pepper, they were divine. I had "dessert" as my Mom would have said. (That was her code for a second helping of spuds.) Tender, juicy chicken breasts (how do they get their poultry so good--is it the lack of weird hormones in the feed, or what?), plus a salad of mache (lamb's ear lettuce) with vinaigrette--perfect, and I ate every bite.
Today was devoted to cleaning the apartment and buying our first french sapin de noël. That is the word for pine tree, so this is our Christmas Tree. It's a bit petite (barely waist high when not on a chair, actually), but comes in a pot so it can be watered and replanted. I wanted a tree I could water, which meant I had a choice between a potted tree, or a cut one with no tree stand, as tree stands are very hard to find here. I just don't understand the other french christmas trees that I've seen around--they are stuck into a cut log, so they can't be watered. O Dead brown tree, o dead brown tree, how crispy are thy branches...
With help from P (one of the girls I babysit) I got it home from the local florist on the corner, without losing either the tree or the dog. The florist was very nice, his shop was beautiful and smelled incredible, and I loved the picture he had framed and hanging near the caisse (check out desk) of him and his wife--their heads only over two identical flower pots. He wrapped our tree up carefully in paper and after warning me that it was "très lourd" (very heavy), set it gently in my arms. P took Lucy's leash, with the promise to stay close in case another dog came near (P, at the age of 8, weighs less than the dog, and frankly, I have trouble holding on to Lucy sometimes.) Lucky for both of us, Lucy behaved herself admirably, and we made it home intact.
Anyway, it's a bit Charlie Brown, but it is cute and a good size for an apartment that is the size our bedroom was in Wisconsin. I have some ornaments from IKEA, (and our Badman ornaments are on their way from Grand Forks) and we decorated it tonight after supper. Of course, that took all of three songs from the Holiday playlist on the computer, but you know, it did get us somewhat in the spirit. Unfortunately, I did not heed my own warnings (figuring it was only a teeny tree--how could I have an allergic reaction in the 2 minutes it takes to decorate?) Wrong. Itchy hands, crap.
But, my sojourn to search for lights failed, so if anyone knows where I can get white or multicolored (NOT pink or blue--that's not Christmas, that's Barbie) lights for cheap in Paris, please let me know. I don't consider 19 euros cheap, and frankly we don't need that many. It's a pretty dinky tree. But I would like some twinkle, so if you have a lead, let me know. (And I've already checked the local Tati--blue and pink--what's with that?)
Oh, and we decided to try to take a picture of ourselves while doing it. As you can see, we had varying levels of success. At least we had fun!
Ho! Ho! Ho!