29.07.2013 - 29.07.2013 20 °C
We spent this morning going through our bags and finding things that we could either throw out or give away to the Poirots. It seems impossible that I will be able to fit everything into my bag. Abby, however, appeared to have no trouble with hers. Perhaps I just have more souvenirs.
Once more, we took full advantage of the Poirot's abundant hospitality and accepted their invitation to spend another afternoon with them. For lunch, we were served a wonderful French meal, which I will describe in so much detail you will wonder if it is not instead my father who is writing this blog. We began with the pinnacle of French delicacies: foie gras. Unfortunately, I have to say that I have no real fondness for it. Everyone else enjoyed it, though, Nicolas especially. We spread it onto little round toasts, and even though I wasn't particularly partial to it, I have to say that I felt exponentially more French while eating it, as well as a little posh. Our main course was a Provencal salad made with couscous, tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, corn, mint, and raisins. I'll have to ask Myriam for the vinaigrette recipe, as we're definitely making it when we get home.
We had the same broad selection of apres-dejeuner cheeses, and this time Abby and I decided to try the strong, unpasteurised Roquefort. If you've never had the pleasure of trying it, allow me to give you a brief description of the process. First, the moldy cheese touches your tongue. It's soft, so you press the cheese to the roof of your mouth and let it spread out. Hmm. You can almost see why people like it. And then the full impact of the flavour hits you, and the smell fills your nostrils, and the putridity is overwhelming. You can feel the slight crunch of the mold, which is almost enough to make you stop trying to eat it altogether, but you know you must persevere if this foul creation is ever to leave your mouth. Finally, the worst is over. But the rotten aftertaste lingers a few moments more, and you must down a glass or two of water to completely rid yourself of the fromage d'enfer.
Dad said he quite liked it, though.
Myriam made two delicious French desserts for us, tarte aux mirabelles and soufflé a la rhubarbe. Mirabelles are small yellow plums, and are a specialty of the Lorraine region of France. Jean Pierre-Coffe, a famous French chef and food critic, once said, "Happiness exists and I've met it. It weighs 14.3 grams and it comes from Lorraine." When I was living in Nancy, I saw jam, juice, alcohol, and desserts all made from mirabelles. I also had the chance to make a rhubarb soufflé alongside Myriam when I was here, and found it just as lovely today as I had a year ago. Abby, however, was positively delighted with it. I might have to get this recipe as well.
After lunch, we played cheat (or "tricher" en français) and spoons, except we changed the name to bouchons (corks) and used those instead. These proved trickier to grab, and the corks would fly off the table as everyone lunged at once. Turns out the Poirots are just as competitive as the Konings. Most of them, anyways. Myriam taught us a French saying, "pour le beurre" (for the butter), which means "for nothing." But none of us were very content with playing "pour le beurre", so the frenzied snatching continued.
We wound up the visit with a couple games of bowling, the adults and the kids playing separately. There was a bit of confusion when it came to shoes, as we weren't very adept at converting North American sizes to European ones, but we finally figured it out. At our lane, Nicolas won the first game, and I won the second. Thierry proved to be the best bowler on the adult lane, winning both games with scores over a hundred. Dad came in second each time. C'est dommage.
We said our goodbyes and took a couple family photos, and there were hugs and les bises all around. It was fantastic seeing my French family again, and I loved introducing them to my Canadian family. They are incredible hosts and amazing people. Ce n'est pas un adieu, mais un au revoir!
To finish off our stay in Nancy, we made a final trek to Place Stanislas in order to see the light show we'd missed earlier. It proved to be spectacular, and had an interesting plot as well as breathtaking animation. The best bits where when the Hotel de Ville was built before our eyes, whether by tiny blue men in a videogame-like sequence or with strips of light slowly creeping over the arcs and lines of the building. Yeah, these descriptions don't really do it justice. But believe me, it was beautiful. Be sure to see it next time you're in Nancy.
Our final road trip is tomorrow. Wow.