Châtaignes (Chestnuts) roasting on an open fire… Actually in the small village of Embres et Castelmaure (Population approximately 150) there were several fires last night as people from the village and a few others assembled to enjoy a meal, entertainment, socialising and of course, châtaignes.
There was a good turnout and everyone showed excellent community spirit while relocating to accommodate everyone who turned out. Pitchers of a new wine, pale yellowish color, were placed on each table and a toast to the harvest.
One of the local choirs (made up of members of local villages) performed several songs before the meal and a few more at the end of the event. Of course canapes, more wine (red), juice and water quickly appeared on each table.
At most every village meal I have attended since moving to France, everyone brings their own dishes and cutlery. Organisers who have worked so hard in planning and preparing are not stuck in the small kitchen for hours with clean-up.
As the choir finished, everyone went to the serving area and got steaming bowls of soup! Perfect for a chilly evening. I’m not sure but it was similar to a butternut squash soup that I make only also had large croutons and sprinkled with cheese. It was delicious.
As people returned to their seats some of the organisers carried large platters of freshly grilled sausages and as usual, all you can eat. I want to warn anyone thinking of joining in one of these events, come prepared with an empty stomach. La pièce de résistance – Châtaignes fresh from the fires they were roasted upon and wrapped in quantities of newspaper were passed around to each table. Once again a village comes together to enjoy nature’s bounty and celebrate there community.
Much like any family meal, everyone pitches in with clearing the tables and taking them down then stacking the chairs.
It seems as one season of celebrating and festivals ends another one begins. Life is to celebrate and we certainly do!
When planning a visit to France, check out what might be available in the areas you plan to visit. I promise you won’t be sorry!