Each year the Comité des Fêtes hosts an evening soiree to celebrate the diversity of the nationalities of the residents of Gourgé. There are 12 different nationalities – French, English, Scottish, Portuguese, Mexican, Australian, Dutch, Turkish, Spanish, German, American and Romanian.
The first soiree held was three years ago and was an introduction to all the varied cultures.
The drinks and meal were all Dutch based.
Last year was the turn of the Mexicans. There was a slide show highlighting the country, culture and famous sights. Margaritas, Mezcal and a traditional Mexican honey based drink – Xtabentún – were served as pre drinks. The meal consisted of Quesadillas, Tortillas, Mole, Frijoles and other spicy delicacies. All enjoyed to the sounds of Samba and a little bossanova ! After the meal some individuals gave a little turn by singing a song or doing a little dance. At this point we left but were later informed the evening didn’t really finish until 0430!
Now to 2012 – the turn of the English !
Adrian volunteered to do a presentation on the history of British beer, brewing, pubs and he made a selection of traditional beers for sampling.
The car was loaded up with beer, a projection screen, laptops, various malts, hops and various other beery paraphernalia.
We had a selection of malts on hand for the show’n’tell.
An old gentleman came up and after asking a few questions about the different malts, he recounted his story of wartime occupied France when there was no coffee available – he told us how they used to roast malted barley at home to make a powder to make a coffee substitute.
He had slightly moist eyes at the end of the tale – quite lovely.
Adrian brought hops from New Zealand, Slovenia and… Blighty!
All quite different and one of them was outrageously skunky.
On the small screens we had a little running gallery of beer related pictures.
Ancient pubs, drayhorses, beer engines for hand pulled pints. It was suprisingly popular.
A little selection of brewing and beer history books and an introduction to the best drinking vessel in the world. A 568ml dimpled pot! Enough to make a grown man cry.
All the tasters laid out. In this shot… from the back… our Timothy Taylor clone, an ancient 1750’s London porter, 1840’s IPA and a contemporary recreation of an oatmeal stout clone from Samuel Smiths in Tadcaster.
The Oatmeal stout … a big surprise for everyone that tasted it. Adrian had also germinated some barley to show where the sugars originated from and where his photo publishing debut was inspired from !
Adrian’s IPA. There were a few ‘WOW’s and a few people who have no doubt never had anything that bitter in their mouths before!
Crowds take their places for supper. Starter – Mulligatawny soup. Main – Hot pot, potatoes and carrots with swede. Desert – Trifle, Victoria Sponge Cake or Banoffee Pie. Cheese – Jacobs Crackers with 4 different cheeses including Cheddar and Wensleydale. Tea or Coffee.
A lot of elderly people in the village turned out. They didn’t stay for the singing and the dancing. We left around 0130 as the night was winding down.
Other presentations were of the Royal Family past and present with wedding memorabilia from the most recent royal wedding. A bowler and top hat adorned one table and I had created a slide show of all things British projected onto the screen throughout the evening. From red telephone boxes to cornish pasties, The Angel of the North to full english breakfasts, Wimbledon to Churchill and many many more.
All in all a very enjoyable evening and hopefully a little eye opener for our French friends and hosts.
Next year – the nationality will be …. French – not sure what to expect !!