Monday, December 19, 2011

via pinterest
Which means time for a party, of course. We are heading back to the US for Christmas this week so we decided to have a little soiree this weekend to enjoy one final holiday celebration with our friends in Paris.   I don't think I will ever enjoy entertaining as much as I do in Paris and have savored every second of it accordingly.  I hope this will give you some ideas for your next holiday fête.
Naturally, a French focus with a bit of a Southern twist.  We spent the day Saturday gathering ingredients.  (The best part about throwing a party in Paris is that very little cooking is required.  Why make it yourself when you can buy it a patisserie next door?)
via my little paris
First stop was just outside our front door.  Our street turns into a market of sorts on Saturdays with vendors selling everything from fresh Normandy oysters to ten different mushroom varietals.  The hardest part is choosing what to buy....

Next stop, Marche de Passy (permanent market at the end of our street).  

Have you ever seen this many varieties of honey??

I could spend hours in this market.  It is seriously a food lover's heaven.

After I finally pulled myself away, it was off to the boulangerie to pick up the bûche de Noël.  These things are serious works of art and only available for a limited amount of time right before Christmas.  It was really hard to force my hand down with the knife when the time came.

Once home, it was time to work some magic and turn fifteen square meters into a space to socialize.  Utilizing every of inch of table space is key.

Sprucing up with flowers helps any situation.

As do ranunculus.  (Ignore the very tarnished silver, please!)

I copied this little arrangement from something I saw at the Hermes flower shop.  I just stuck a few sprigs of greenery from my Christmas garland into the mix.  Très simple.

Finally, on to the spread.

These were super easy to make and probably the biggest hit.  We sliced and grilled up some chorizo, and then paired it with manchego and avocado.

The only other thing requiring any real preparation were the pulled pork sliders. And that is the Mr.'s department.  He marinated and slow cooked the pork all day on Friday and then just shredded it up so that it was all ready to go.  We served it on mini ciabatta sandwiches with our favorite Big Bob Gibson bbq sauces on the side for people to add (from my hometown, Decatur, Alabama).

We wrapped the sandwiches in aluminum foil and popped them in a 350 degree oven  for about 20 - 30 minutes.  I am so sorry I forgot to capture these little guys on camera!

Everything else was pretty much ready to serve.  We plated up the oysters with some lemon and arranged the cheese with our favorite garnishes (onion confit, lavender honey and truffle oil... I could do a whole post on cheese plates, my favorite!!) along with the foie gras and pâte (the foie gras came from our favorite restaurant down the street, Auberge Lembert and the pâte came from a recent trip to the Dordogne-Perigord region).

And of course, you remember the truffle popcorn.

Have you ever had kouign amann? It is my new favorite French pastry.  It's from Normandy and the only way I know to describe it is butter cake crack.  It's so dense and just ridiculously delicious. My friend Caroline R. introduced this to me at a market and I am hooked (btw, my waistline hates you now, Caroline).  I'm going to guess this is pretty hard to find in the US (count yourselves lucky).  We cut it up and served it like little cake bites.

And of course the star of the show.

I still cannot believe I had to destroy it.

And last, but not certainly not least....
Kir Royale is my favorite champagne cocktail.  It's not too sweet and very easy to make.  Sparkling wine + creme de cassis (and a blackberry garnish if you really want to get fancy).  I thought it would be festive to do a Christmasy drink too and so we also did a blood orange and ginger mimosa.  We can find really good blood orange juice in our grocery store, but if you can't just use the juice from a couple of blood oranges and pour it into a pitcher or carafe.  The ginger simple syrup is very easy.  1 1/2 cups of water, 1 cup of sugar and 1 piece of ginger peeled and sliced.  Boil it all together for 30 to 40 minutes and then strain.  Now all you need is the Champagne (or sparkling wine) and some fresh mint garnish.  (I cannot believe it, but our wine store carries the same sparkling wine that we served at our wedding - Cremant de Loire by Monmousseau so of course that is our go to!)

Of course I did not take one picture at the actual party.  I am the worst about that!  Take my word for it though, it was crowded :) but it was a great time nonetheless.  I'm so thankful for all of our friends in Paris and loved getting to enjoy this holiday season with them.

What a novel of a post! For anyone still reading, bon Noël and happy Monday.

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