Sunday, 18 January 2009

the curse of Patxaran

Pascale and Bruno's soiree hier soir cemented our view that moving to St Jean de Luz has been our best decision to date. Guests were asked to bring a dish from their region/ family (we took roast beef and devils on horseback). There were 20 guests resulting in a flow of food that seemed to last for hours but in reality lasted a lot longer! From chorizo bread to roasted champignons, cassoulet to chocolate macarons all gushed with intensity and deliciousness. Bruno ensured that we remained wholly hydrated via intravenous champagne and vin rouge. By midnight we were truly fed and more than sensibly hydrated, then the real fun began...

The music subtely changed to tunes not found on my iPod, a joyous melee of accordian, fiddle and drums creating a ceilidh sound with latin temperament. The dancers began, stepping solemnly at first but more quickly and with increasing vigour as the tempo heightened. Following the feast I watched in wonder as they turned and twisted in unison - Maria braved a couple of dances with considerable success. Better was to follow. I may have dreamt it but I believe we partook in a rowdy Basque karaoke broken only by the sporadic interjection of Scottish song - I had worn my kilt after all. As I rounded off Mingulay Boat Song I recall the Patxaran being brought forth, the rest of the party is a bit of a blur but I woke up ten hours later and 20 miles west - slightly worrying when that happens...!

Waking this morning we were both in dire need of a fry-up. As luck would have it the neighbouring town of Ciboure was holding its annual festival complete with world boudin noir competition (it's a kind of black pudding). After cheering on the frenetic cooks the crowd watched in silence as several very serious looking judges sampled the fare checking everything from consistency and smell to weight and taste. In the background a local Basque folk group offered uplifting harmonies to help alleviate our hangovers. The chefs proudly offered their wares to the onlookers and after we had satisfied our cravings we headed home to spend the remains of the day watching movies.

Basque of the day:- excellent :: bikain