Chocolate covered figs

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Away from jingles , tinned carols and the pressure to buy the latest gadget, Christmas in Provence is about long walks, sharing seasonal things, a bonne bouteille and laughter in front of the fire.

Determined not to become 'one of those expats' that only hangs out with other expats, last night we hosted an ap�ro for our friends in the village. Our builder, our masseuse, a local artist, the lady who runs the local music festival, our ex-neighbours. In the afternoon I walked on the Grand Randonn�e at the foot of the Ventoux picking wintry skeletons of thistles and curry flower, twigs, oak leaves and berries with which I made a wreath and several bouquets. Later people arrived with bottles of their own olive oil and fig jams, and 6-8 turned into 6-12 without us even noticing.

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On Christmas eve we, along with many families, gather at Les Halles in Avignon to prepare for our feast, but also to share in a plate of oysters at the bar and exchange seasonal greetings. The game butcher, originally from our village, in her Father Christmas hat, wishes us Bonnes F�tes when we buy our venison and partridge. At the bakers I ask for half a seigle half a panaissan and the woman next to me says 'I'll take the other half of each. Joyeux Noel!''. We all get complimentary brioche. At the fishmonger we buy our St Pierre, oysters, coquilles St Jacques for the traditional French seafood Christmas eve dinner and plonk ourselves down for a glass of Picpul, six fines de claires d'Oleron and six Utah Beach at the market caf�.

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The highlight, however, has to be the box of chocolate covered figs I made and that my beloved fig - painting husband extraordinaire has just unwrapped in-between courses and is now enjoying with a glass of whiskey before turning in for an early night.

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Happy Christmas!!!! Bonnes F�tes!!!!

2 Comments

Truly beautiful... :-)

Sounds a perfect Christmas to me.

Ruth, thank you for your wonderful posts. I love your writing about the "Painter" and your music. You are truly a poet. I am also the happy owner of the painting posted for this entry. I am so glad I was able to purchase it. I have it proudly displayed in my living room.

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