Monday, 3 May 2010

back on form in St Jean de Luz

After an absence of two months from St Jean de Luz I returned just as the festival season was getting underway (quelle domage!). This weekend saw the choir holding a wee dinner for us newer members. Having been absent for a while I dodged having to cook anything but did take along a couple of bottles of malt whisky by way of enforcing a modicum of Scottishness.

My experience of meals with guys is fish and chips or perhaps at a push a barbecue. Not so in the Basque country. We started with 4kg of huge crevettes, freshly made mayonnaise with crab, smoked salmon and several large plates of meats. This was only the entree. Main course served up duck breast and pigeon on a bed of pureed potato in a shallot and garlic jus. Dessert presented five enormous chocolate and passion fruit gateau, all courtesy of Alain our singing patissier. Washed down by two dozen bottles of red wine (plus my whisky) our throats were adequately lubricated to enable sporadic forrays into Basque song.

Unlike chaps back home, the Basque men worked as a cohort and I was quickly seconded to chop herbs, wash dishes and serve wine. It was effortless and, dare I say it, working the kitchen was fun. I guess living in a matriarchal society (which the Basque country is) we men need to find solace where we can.

[Apologies for absence: Egypt, Scotland, Sudan, England, Spain, with a bit of volcano thrown in...]

Basque of the day:- absence :: ez izate