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  • Writer's pictureDiana Scalia

Where I've Been Lately



I’ve been wintering in France ;) for over a month now and have only blogged once. Maybe let me please explain.

 

Since I arrived, there was much holiday hoopla. To begin I had to get my Christmas cookie parade in order, having local loves in La Rochelle for deliveries + to share with my beautiful French family. Renata’s favorite Madeleines take extra love and attention.

 

(I intended to blog about all of that. Really, I did. We see that just didn’t happen.)

 

Cookies were shaped, baked, packaged and delivered. Christmas suitcase got packed, short travel arrangements were made to arrive at the gorgeous home of my Christmas hosts, Marinette and Pierre (Renata’s grandparents). Antoine (Renata’s daddy) helped get me on a short train, etc., et voila!  We all arrived in the country on Saturday night, 23 December.


That evening was Renata’s 5th birthday party, over an amazing meal of steak fondue, followed (of course) by cheese, then Renata’s special birthday cake. Her presents preceded dinner - the way it ought to be.

 

Christmas Eve was an entire day-and-night-long celebration that started with the entire family at the table enjoying Italian pannetone, baguette, great coffee, lots of butter and homemade jam ... typical for a French country breakfast. Heaven brought down to earth, for me.

 

Lunch was a fabulous multi-course meal at the table together. That evening, at 9pm, Pere Noel  (Santa) was late on his rounds so he simply dropped the mother lode of gifts for the children in big bags by the door, and ran off.

 

A massive gift opening event in Pierre’s very cool music studio was followed by Champagne, homemade cheese puffs, and foie gras toasts. That amuse-bouche course was followed by a delicious meal of fresh fish, followed by cheese, ending with Marinette’s famous Bouche de Noel (top foto) cake for dessert! Little Renata and I said good night at 1am and tucked in to bed together.

 

Christmas morning was about yummy breakfast and playing with new toys.  A glorious lunch was fresh oysters and a grand seafood platter, then cheese, and finally a well-received Bouche de Noel encore.

 

26 December was a bonus day for me, especially since Marinette and I had Renata all to ourselves. We visited the farm animals, played games, ate Christmas leftovers for meals, and went to bed early!

 

27 December was a fantastic welcome for Marietta (Marinette’s sister) and their 3-generation-family, including more beautiful children. We dined extremely well over a catered lunch of meats, vegetables, various mousses and terrines, cheese, bread, and ... Bouche de Noel for dessert, which Marinette joyfully made the day before while I kept Renata occupied. The children are decorating the cakes, foto right.

 

Only back in La Rochelle for 11 minutes ;), I was invited to spend New Year’s Eve with Marietta and her husband Girard and son Etienne ... just another short trip for an overnight stay. I couldn’t not say yes!

 

We simply relaxed over great food and wine, took long walks including one by moonlight, and ate 12 wish-grapes at midnight with Marietta taking things very seriously, with written wishes! Etienne was our very loving and willing translator, we shared much fun and laughter to start our brand-new year.

 

Regardez!  Oh look! I felt blessed beyond measure to spend sooooo many glorious hours with this beautiful family whom I love so dearly. All of my Christmas wishes came true!

 

Renata came to La Rochelle to be my cherished little houseguest on New Year’s Day.  A story for another day, stand by.

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