Thursday, November 30, 2006

A perfect night!

What would be my recipe for a perfect evening?

Well first of all there would be great company, hopefully there would be Patrick Dempsey wearing that special smile of his (and little else preferably!) if he were available. Though unfortunately he never seems to be. Of course there would be some magnificent food and some equally delicious wine to wash it all down with. And maybe just maybe if that weren’t enough indulgence they'd be an opportunity for a little retail therapy, possibly of something fabulous and shiny! Mmmm, heaven!

And that was pretty much my perfect night tonight. Okay Patrick was busy... again but maybe next time!

Tonight was my second Divertimenti extravaganza and the theme was Festive flavours of Perigord with a special dinner prepared by Flavia Rowse - so completely up my boulevard! Last time we had a demonstration and we passed bowls around to taste things and had a couple of small plates but this time there’s only twelve of us and we sit on barstools around their ‘La Cornue’ range and demonstration island and the lovely Mary serves us each fabulous plate with a flourish as Flavia creates it. When I think of Perigord, I think of truffles, foie gras, and possible mushrooms and that's exactly what delights were on offer. We were positively awash with foie gras treats and I for one wasn't complaining.

Firstly, Flavia whipped up a little taster of a heavenly tiny baked potato topped with shavings of foie gras and black truffle with a glass of Sauternes! Just gorgeous!

Next we have the ultimate starter. An amazing indulgent plate of foie gras filled pasta with a truffle and mascarpone sauce, with which we drink some Champagne. I think I have died and gone to heaven, that sauce is just stunning. I could have had it by itself as an amazingly decedent fondue. Flavia certainly knows her foie gras, she tells us the history of the Egyptians worshipping the goose headed god which first established foie gras as the ultimate high days and holidays foodstuff. Romans improved on the original Egyptian method and developed a system of force-feeding the geese figs instead of grain. With the fall of the Roman Empire, such luxury foods were forgotten for the next millennium. She postulates that it was the Jews settled in Italy that spread the word and reinstated foie gras and maybe not the Gascon peasants as otherwise believed. Though with Flavia’s mother being French she wouldn’t normally admit to that!

Next we have a foie gras hiatus and Flavia makes us a lovely little warm salad of Chanterelles with some country bread. Then it’s back on the foie gras for a new take on burgers. We have the most delicious ‘burger’ made from brioche, flash fried foie gras, ruby chard and duck crackling. There was also a tomato jam made with Balsamic, ginger, coriander seeds and of course… tomatoes! I had mine on the side in case it spoilt the taste of the amazing ‘burger’ and yes, I did try it and declared it ‘not too bad!’. I’m glad I didn’t have it all over the brioche though!

Finally we have figs in puff pastry with mulled wine and cranberry coulis and a little more Sauternes. The meal wouldn’t generally be a normal complete dinner party menu it was meant to really showcase the fruits of Perigord, well actually foie gras and it was truly stunning. Flavia gets three well-deserved three forks for her efforts.

And if the evening wasn’t wonderful enough, there was time for a spot of shopping after our magnificent meal which is always extra fun after a few glasses of Sauternes etcetera! And somehow I ended up with a new pan and a cookbook. But I guess I better explain those ‘accidents’ in another post. And that doesn’t include the cookbook that Flavia is writing with her mother, which I intend to add to the burgeoning shelves when it is completed

And then when I returned home from the ideal evening what did I have waiting for me? Yes, you've guessed it Patrick Dempsey. Well at least on my Sky+ anyway!

So it really was the most perfect evening after all.

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