Behind the scene

Originally posted 2014.

Each year, most often in the spring, our choir, Les Chants des Corbières, often combines our performances with a small repast ( repas). While concerts are usually free, we do have a small charge for the meal and it helps to pay the choirs expenses.

In this post you will see a bit of the activity that goes into preparing an autumn repas following a performance in the nearby village of Villesèque-des-Corbières (Pop: 388).  The menu was kept simple. There was Pumpkin soup, baguettes, cheeses and a variety of desserts all made by choir members. There are always bottles of wine, juices and bottles of water on each table. However, we are also well known for our generous vat (30 plus gallons) of Sangria.

One of the first things I look for each autumn as the landscape begins to run rampant with colours are pumpkins and other squashes. When I first arrived in France they were abundant but almost unrecognisable to me. Living in California, New York and a few states in-between did not prepare me for what I would find at the local markets. No longer would I carve into a round and brightly orange vegetable. The pumpkins here are not round and smooth nor are they always orange. Many of the pumpkins are a light to medium and even a dark green.  Regardless of the colour of the outside, they are all the same vibrant orange inside and quite delicious.

Villesèque foyer's kitchen in the corner with two of the pumpkins
Villesèque foyer’s kitchen in the corner with two of the pumpkins
Andrea making the first cut
Andrea making the first cut
Part of our set-up crew
Part of our set-up crew
Front of foyer before being decorated
Front of foyer before being decorated
Never too many cooks!
Never too many cooks!
Tiny kitchen, several cooks and lots of laughter...
Tiny kitchen, several cooks and lots of laughter…
Tables begin to take on the colours of the evening
Tables begin to take on the colours of the evening
Chop and peel, peel and chop...
Chop and peel, peel and chop…
Is it soup yet?
Is it soup yet?
Nothing like a lovely bowl of soup on a nippy autumn evening
Nothing like a lovely, simmering pot of soup…
Many hands...
Many hands…
If only you could hear the laughter and the singing
If only you could hear the laughter and the singing

There is often a tombola (raffle) and prizes donated by local merchants including plants, travel, baskets filled with treats including bottles of wine.

While most of the songs we sing are French, we do have a few in our catalogue in Spanish, one or two in English and a few songs from different parts of Africa and the Caribbean. Audiences always have their favourites and they will demand encores so they can join it.

The choir has accumulated a large cache of dishes, silverware, glassware and serving pieces. It is a grand mismatched collection. Unlike typical village meals, our guests do not need to bring their tableware as everything is provided. We may be exhausted by the time clean-up is finished but smiling. Leftover food is usually shared among us with some of the cakes being frozen until our next choir practice along with some leftover sangria to wash it all down with.




12 thoughts on “Behind the scene

  1. Hello, dear Lea!
    I just found your blog and I’m glad I did. You are such a nice person and have really nice posts.
    I never made pumpkin soup, is it good?

    1. How kind you are, dear Katherine. I tried to find a place to comment on your blog but couldn’t find one. Thank you for following one of my blogs. Your cat is gorgeous. I hope to discover more of your work. Pumpkin soup is lovely and there are so many ways to make it. One of the nice things about soups is that you make it as you like it. All the best, Léa

      1. It’s okay, that is not a problem.
        The pleasure is mine.
        Fifi can be a truly mess, but it’s my cat and I love him just the way he is. Of course you can, most of my new posts have a english version too, so it won’t be a problem.
        I asked because I heard about recipes with pumpkin but never tasted any one of it. I didn’t knew it is such a great tradition of pumpkin soup in France.
        Best regards, Katherine.

      2. I am not sure that Pumpkin Soup is such a tradition here but it was autumn and our choir decided to serve it at a fundraiser. They are a fun group. I shall have to look again for a place to make the comment, I didn’t find it before? I will keep trying. There are two cats in the house here and they have their own blog. Best wishes, Léa

      3. The two felines in this house have this one human. We are in search of a little brother, hopefully next spring? No need to be sorry. You see other cats as some are kind enough to send photos of their precious felines. Colette and Simone come up with the stories and the human types.

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