Saturday, December 15, 2012

French Onion-Hued Adieu at the Tournee au Chat Noir

What happens when you unleash a coven of dramatically inclined and artsy femmes upon the task of creating an au revoir dinner for a fellow Francophile female? Nothing less than an impromptu yet perfect Tournee au Chat Noir (Evening of the Black Cat) -- a creative and crazy, wine-soaked evening of comforting and classic soup, silk scarves instead of goodie bags, gourmet cookware, fresh fruit desserts, sexy costumes and the Edith Piaf station on Pandora radio as background for theatrical, still-life photo shoots. Dressed in black with a dose of my ancestors of the family Doucette around my neck in a vintage gold drape necklace, I arrived with mustard and olive batons (French puff pastry breadsticks that has become one of my new culinary calling cards) in tow and proceeded to enjoy my time around the cauldron with the rest of my friends.

Everything tastes better when it begins and ends with creamy cheeses on baguette slices with various jams made of combinations such as roasted kiwi, strawberry and pear.

A hearty and rustic table laid with wooden bowls and warm-toned linens helped us channel the spirits of Simone De Beauvoir, Amelie, Collette, and the tart-tinged spirits of other art and literature mademoiselles lounging in the ethers.

French onion soup coaxed to sensual aromas in a massive Le Creuset wok pan was the star of the evening.

I enjoyed filling each bowl with the hot onion broth for the ladies and then floating the mustard baton chunks melted with dried, aged Swiss on top in a flavorful alternative to the normal cheese and bread topping.

(Small salivation interlude. If I were a piece of cookware, I would be made out of cast iron and ceramic and fired a passionate and burnt, tomato red just like these guys.)

To properly cool our pinots, Champagne and Rhones, our host created a gorgeous ice bucket out of a mold using nothing other than cranberries and water.

Salad for dessert was spiked with candied walnuts, spinach leaves, dried cherries, miniature cucumbers and other nutty bits of goodness.

A knife in the hand of our friend who was leaving us all for the next chapter of her life….

 ….cut the final moments of our evening together through slices of freshly baked berry pie, conversation about our memories together that we will all cherish forever, and many expressions of exuberant good luck for all of us in our respective futures.

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