Late Night Pork Products!

Our friends, Traudel and Jean-Luc, who run the Relais d'Urfé, a small local restaurant, hold "Immigrant Evenings" (as Traudel calls them) on a monthly basis through the spring/summer. I might be more inclined to call them "Ex-Pat evenings" as "Immigrant Evening" sounds a bit weird to my ears. Anyway, the idea is that the non-French people in the area get together, to talk (in French/English/whatever language you can) and to share food from one country. There are people from the UK, from Luxembourg, Germany, Hungary,and other countries who attend.

Sometimes the person from the country cooks the meal, sometimes Traudel, or Jean-Luc. Last time we went, Angela - from the north of England - cooked meat-and-potato pie, with red cabbage, followed by scones and jam. This time, someone from Luxembourg was in charge of the evening. Traudel did the cooking, but Monsieur Luxembourg provided the "entertainmment".

Mr FD and I arrived at 7.30, and, save M. Luxembourg, were the first ones there. We were handed a large German mug of beer and sat and chatted. At about 8.15 someone else turned up, and some peanuts and saucisson arrived on the bar...We were told that M. Luxembourg had a DVD to show us about his home country, and then we would eat, but we were just waiting for a couple of other people to arrive...9.00 came. And went. Finally, at about ten past nine, we trooped into the restaurant for the video. It was put on, and was quite interesting, about the Grande Duchesse of Luxembourg, Charlotte, about whom I knew absolutely nothing.

BUT...after about 30 minutes, when we were still learning about her childhood, Mr FD and I were starting to get a tad fidgety. I hadn't eaten since a light lunch, and the beer was going to my head (as it had been refilled at fairly regular intervals!) Mr FD was due to go cycling the next day,  and it was 9.45 and we hadn't eaten! I am not one for causing a scene, and wanted to be polite, but Mr FD went to the toilet, and then stood at the door indicating "I'm going. Are you coming with me?" As he had the car keys I had no choice. So I whispered my apologies to M. Luxembourg, saying "We hadn't realised it was going to be so late, we're very sorry..." and we crept out.

Traudel, who was serving in the bar, raised her eyes heavenwards, and remarked that all the food was ready, and it was a bit ridiculous, wasn't it? At which point, M. Luxembourg arrived and said "Why don't we eat and watch the rest of the video over the food? Would that be okay for you?" We agreed it would be, so we slunk back into the room, where , by now, the Grande Duchesse Charlotte  had been exiled to Portugal during World War II.

Platters of pork products were brought out - saucisson, salami, cured ham - and M. Luxembourg proudly told us it was true Luxembourgian produce, even the mustard and butter. Judging by the alacrity that everyone fell upon the food, I think they were rather grateful that we had broken the stalemate! 

Grande Duchesse Charlotte had become a grandmother by the time we moved onto the main course, which was another version of pork products - a thick chunk of gammon-like meat (Traudel said it was échine de porc ) with a type of bean, and boiled potatoes with parsley. It was very nice, and very filling. Wikipedia tells me that it is called Judd mat Gaardebounen, saying "served in copious slices (you're telling me!) together with the beans and boiled potatoes, it is considered to be the national dish of Luxembourg."

Dessert was served to the Grande Duchesse's funeral. That was a pear and almond cake, which is traditionally served at Easter. The video drew to a close after an hour and a half. There were some just audible sighs of relief.

Then, as coffee was served, M. Luxembourg took out another DVD, this time about the current Grand Duc, and slotted it in the machine. We made our excuses and left!

I can understand that M. Luxembourg was proud of his country, and wanted to teach us about it. Fine. But who would have thought that - for an evening that is supposed to be about cultural exchanges - a 90 minute documentary would be a good piece of entertainment!? And before dinner? Starting watching it at 9.15? I do wonder if  - had we not started the ball rolling by saying we had to go - we would have watchjed the whole thing before eating, or would someone else have rebelled?!

I didn't sleep too badly, considering we ate vast quantities of pork at 10 o'clock at night, but I still feel rather over-stuffed!

Mr FD is planning the "educational DVD" for our turn. It will, I fear, include the Monarchs' Song from Horrible Histories


 I wonder quite what will be made of that! Actually, if Mr FD has his way, it would probably all be made up of Horrible Histories - he loves that show!

We were considering what menu we would provide - we're thinking samosas for starters, as a nod to the Indian cuisine so beloved of Britain, followed by steak-and-kidney pie, and then...We're not sure. Trifle would be good, but I know that jelly is almost universally loatrhed by the French, and so, presumably, by other people too. Apple pie would be too much pastry... Can anyone  suggest a reasonably straightforward typically "English" dessert?


  1. How about a Dundee cake? I was just looking at a recipe for it in a family celebration book. I loved The Gathering Storm about Winston Churchill (not a documentary) and in it Winston relishes his Dundee cake.

    1. Not a bad idea, PomPom...we could serve it with cheddar cheese as in the North. That would get people thinking...!!

  2. I think you were very restrained in your reactions to the Luxembourg evening. My stomach objects to a meal after 9pm, and as I don't eat meat it would have been a very late pudding for me!
    For a British dessert I would suggest strawberries and cream, or is that too simple?


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