Happy New Year!

I know it is already January 23rd, but I want to record our first New Years Eve in France! Our family has a tradition of having a raclette party New Years Eve.

Raclette is a dish indigenous to parts of Switzerland. The Raclette cheese is heated, either in front of a fire or by a special machine, then scraped onto diners’ plates; the term raclette derives from the French word racler, meaning “to scrape,” a reference to the fact that the melted cheese must be scraped from the unmelted part of the cheese onto the plate.

Traditionally the melting happens in front of an open fire with the big piece of cheese facing the heat. One then regularly scrapes off the melting side. It is accompanied by small firm potatoes (Bintje, Charlotte or Raclette varieties), gherkins, pickled onions, and dried meat, such as jambon cru/cuit (dried ham) and viande des Grisons.”  (Thank you Wikipedia for this quick explanation!)

This is our France raclette machine:

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As you can see, the small hot plates are inserted on top of the heating device, in the middle of the whole raclette machine.  The meat then goes on the heated top cooking surface.  You put your slices of raclette cheese onto each small non-stick plate, insert it above the heat, wait a few minutes while your meat and cheese cook/melt and voila, you scrape off the melted cheese on top of meat and all the other fixings!  Everyone loves this! (Except for me!  I am not a lover of cheese, so I forgo the cheese and enjoy all the rest!)

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One of my first home cooked french meals in France was raclette.  It was with our good friends Joseph Professo and family in Saint Etienne!  It was such an interesting and fun experience for me!  And, of course, Aaron had this meal often while serving a LDS mission in France and Switzerland.

Back in Logan, it was sometimes difficult to find raclette cheese.  If I did find raclette, it was usually a small square that cost anywhere between 5 and 10 dollars.  Here in France, I can find raclette cheese at every grocery store.  I noticed during the holidays, the stores had a larger selection of raclette cheese.  They also have different flavored raclette cheese. For example, we tried raclette with pepper, raclette with onion and a “country” raclette. The cheese here is definitely cheaper than in the States.  It was so fun to continue our tradition here in France!  Plus, everyone said the raclette cheese was so much richer and better here in France!

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When I was shopping at the Carrefour one afternoon, close to the holidays, I came across a section of celebratory items for ringing in the new year.  There were HUGE bags of confetti!  I did not see the usual firework display that is so common in Utah stores.  But, I did find these awesome confetti canons!  I bought two of them and they were the coolest thing!  It is a long heavy stick filled with confetti.  You twist one of the bottom ends and “bam” confetti goes shooting accompanying a loud “boom”.  It was awesome!!!!

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Here Sophie is holding one of the canons!  Everyone felt like it was a rainbow of confetti when the “bomb” went off!

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The confetti was so bright and colorful!  The next day our yard was filled with all the colors of the rainbow!  It was a fun and new experience for us!!!

To finish off our night we celebrated with a traditional Italian cake that our friends, the Serrano’s, brought back from Italy.  It is a Pandoro, which is a traditional italian sweet bread.  It is shaped like a pyramid with an eight pointed star section.  It is dusted with powdered sugar to resemble the italian alps.  The cake comes in a beautiful pyramid box. I saw these desserts in the stores here around the holidays, but did not know exactly what they were.  I am so grateful we get to experience these little things that are a part of french life that one hardly ever gets when you are on vacation!

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