Posts Tagged ‘confit duck’

I was in Barcelona for a very important purpose. My friends Chan (Sri Lankan) and Neasa (Irish) – both New Zealand residents – were getting married in the obvious Kiwi-Asian-Gaelic location. Barcelona.

Chan waiting

Waiting for Neasa


Neasa and Chan - the bride and groom

The wedding ceremony - outside

The outside venue for the wedding ceremony

The wedding music courtesy of Neasa's friends

Neasa's Irish friends play the wedding music

The wedding venue - inside

The wedding venue - inside

The musical bride

The musical bride

Strictly speaking this was a blessing only as the legalising ceremony was in New Zealand before I left. Their wedding deserves special mention in a foodie blog due to the quality (and quantity) of the food. Two words. Lavish. Delicious.

One of my pet gripes with weddings is that guests are often abandonned for hours after the ceremony with nothing but glasses of bubbles for sustenance. The bride and groom scarper for photos while friends and family get hammered thanks to drinking on an empty stomach. Well prepared bridal couples sometimes ensure canapes are passed around at this time. Given that canapes are priced per piece the general ratio is 3 to 4 per guest. Or several mouthfuls for the more Survivor-like guests; and nothing for the rest.

Not at this wedding. Copious quantities of tapas were served with Cava (Spanish bubbles). Tapas ranged from tortilla (like a Spanish frittata with eggs and potatoes) to fish croquettes to small Spanish meatballs with caramelised onions.  When the formal ceremonies recommenced the troupe of guests were relaxed and with the edge taken off.

Tapas were followed with a buffet featuring paella, confit duck braised in port wine with pears, and a luscious salad with grilled goats cheese. And this was just a corner.

Things really got out of hand with the desserts. Neasa and Chan were obviously unable to shortlist out of the mouthwatering options of classic Spanish desserts, pastries, chocolates and more. So we got everything in tiny pieces in multiple courses. My table had the inspired thought to each have one of everything. And were floored when we discovered that the options kept being refreshed. Completely done in we were faced with the daunting prospect of the wedding cake. A chocolate, truffle, mousse cake. Each.  I feel slightly queasy remembering choking down a corner. Because I had to. Because it was so delicious.

The dessert - second course

Second round of the dessert

The above is a compliment to the bride and groom. It takes a lot to out cater me and I officially concede to being done-in by the wedding feast. Viva Barcelona. And all my love and best wishes to Neasa and Chan. Should you choose to reconfirm your vows in Barcelona anytime. Count me in.

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At short notice my brother and sister in law organised a long weekend in France for Easter weekend. Everything was swimmingly on track right up to the point we were queuing in the car ready to board the Seafrance ferry on Good Friday. The Seafrance crew called a short notice strike. Andrew sorted out a new booking for us on the Norfolk Line and it ended up taking us nearly 11 hours door to door by the time we arrived in Montrieul-sur-Mer.

M-s-M is a dear wee French town in Normandy, very near Calais and a key stop for the mail coach between Calais and Paris in the pre car / train era. This town impressed Victor Hugo so much in the 1835 that he made it one of the settings in Les Miserables. For a short period Jean Valjean was the mayor of Montrieul.

Apparently Norman food is known for being:

a) based on good local produce (true)

b) creamy (also true)

c) saucy (likewise true)

d) pretty rich and substantial (definitely true).

What I would also add is that:

e) it is also very heavy and cooked to within an inch of its life. And everything on your plate has a sauce on it.

Edward, Andrew and I had lunch on Saturday at Le Darnetal which is a very traditional local restaurant. I personally found it very tasty yet somewhat overwhelming. The kind of food where you want to nap for the rest of the day afterwards.

We all ordered one of the three course set menus.

Edward and I both had the Langoustines au Beurre d’Orange as a starter. I would describe this as teeny tiny, super fresh  langoustines in a puddle of orangy butter. Very tasty. The minor shock was some form of a mousseline in the centre. It was eggy and very slightly fishy but fairly tasteless. I could have done without it.

Langoustines au Buerre d'Orange

Langoustines au Buerre d'Orange

This was followed by Filet de Boeuf aux Duex Poivres, Setchuan and Mignonette (for Edward). You can translate this as two pieces of beef fillet each covered in a different creamy pepper sauce. And the Confit de Canard Rôti et Magrat Poêlé au Miel et Sesamé (for Andrew and myself). This was a very rich confit duck, with some roast slices of duck covered in a creamy gravy with sesame seeds in it.  Of the two I much preferred the beef which was tender and delicious and not quite as overwhelming as the duck.

Filet de Boeuf au deux poivres, setchuan et mignonnette

Filet de Boeuf au deux poivres, setchuan et mignonnette

We weren’t planning on dessert but in the end couldn’t resist the Crème brulee and a Café Crème. I didn’t manage to make it through mine but it was pretty much what you would expect. Note the flatter ramekins used in France.

Le Darnetal creme brulee

Le Darnetal creme brulee

Overall I would say that the service was great. It feels very typically French. Go there if you fancy napping for the rest of the afternoon, not if you are after something light.

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