Christmas Day


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It started to rain in the night and the morning was cold and misty. Presents were unwrapped and scrambled eggs were eaten with smoked salmon for breakfast. It was not a morning for a brisk walk in the park. We messed around with the giant jigsaw, watched the Box and got ready for lunch. The white, shiny table was covered with red silk runner, yellow flowers were placed in the vases, candles were lit and golden crackers were arranged at the ten place settings. Champagne was chilled and vintage port decanted. Reds were opened.

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Riaz and Franzie were the first to come. Then D and Nadja came with the two girls and suddenly, the house was lively and noisy. We drank champagne, laughed and chatted. The girls screamed and ran riot.

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The fennel, chicory and orange salad was fresh and crisp. We drank aged Bordeaux with Beef Wellington. The veal bone gravy was thick and rich. Potatoes were mashed with butter and the baby parsnips and carrots were roasted in olive oil. Baby spinach was in a creamy sauce. Vilafonte M and Napa  Pinot were drunk with cheese. Colston Bassett stilton to partnered the port. Christmas pudding was soaked in brandy, set alight and eaten with cream. There was hardly any room for the cake.

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Later that night I listened once again to the now familiar sound of rain drumming softly on the skylight. It has been a nice Christmas.

Champagne Pierre-Gimonnet Collection Vintage 2004 en magnum: Delightful Cotes de Blancs champagne, approachable but with plenty of life ahead. Chateau Moulin Saint-Georges St-Emilion Grand Cru 2002: Soft, mature Bordeaux  partnered Beef Wellington perfectly. Vilafonte M 2007: Less gentle than the Bordeaux. Almost ready. Marimar Torres ‘Don Miguel’ Pinot Noir 2007: Delicious Russian River Valley Pinot from the Torres family. Perfect to drink now. Quinta do Vale D. Maria 1997.

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