New Year's Eve - home comforts

I was so lazy to think about what to do New Year's Eve. In the UAE, when in doubt, Dubai. I seriously considered it because of the amazing fireworks display that was promised. I figured my daughter would really like it. However, the thought of fighting traffic as half the Middle East descends on Dubai was very off-putting. Then friends, expats from Toulouse,  invited us to have dinner with them some friends over from France. Excellent.

I was overwhelmed by the preparation of our hosts.
I counted 52 candles all in all!

 Isabelle and  Eric are wonderful people . It was at their home that we bid farewell to some close acquaintances, as posted in an earlier entry:

They are warm, cultured, well travelled and have a fine eye for cuisine. However, this knowledge could not prepare me for the fantastic evening of food and drink that lie ahead.

The evening started off with some hors d'oeuvres of caviar and crackers, shrimp and crackers, and sushi. It was very relaxed and easy going, as all gatherings at their home are. Appropriately, we started the evening with Champagne.

Always a fitting way to bid farewell to the old year.
At around 21h15 Eric asked if I would have the seafood or beef option. Cool I thought. Rather than the prawn and scallops, I went for the beef. Dinner half an hour later. For starters we had foie gras and a delightful sweet wine, Jurancon. It is so interesting. I would never drink a sweet wine, but when it is paired with a specific and appropriate dish, it is perfect, as was Eric's pairing. Beautiful.

Foie Gras - Eric absolutely loves it.
The gorgeous sweet wine we had.

Following that, my beef was served. I use the word served because it really felt like a restaurant with Eric in his apron serving us. That is how seriously food is taken in their family. My beef was delicious. It is a risk to cook beef because it is hard to get it just right, but Eric cooked it perfectly. It was washed down with a very nice Bordeaux. For dessert we had chocolate cake, vanilla ice cream and raspberry sauce. The evening was rounded off with some cognac.

Our host could be a sommelier for his very good wine pairing.
Well balanced beef.

Tastes and colours in the desert.

There are times when the comfort of a home, be that your own of  a dear friend, in a low key setting with meaningful conversation, good food and equally good wine, is a perfect way to celebrate an occasion. This was such a night. Looking back, I would choose this again over a restaurant or the much vaunted fireworks displays around the city. Merci!