France, personal, travel
Comments 3

How to cook Paella for 100 guests in one easy step: hire the local experts

We’re here in the Dordogne for a weekend of family, friends, fun, and the long-awaited 50th. Saturday evening was the big gathering, with long wooden tables and benches spread under the trees outside:

We hung fairy lights, tiny candles in jam jars, and foraged greenery from the woods and fields around us:

Someone even came up with a creative solution to that dangerous rusty farming implement right near where we’re sitting:

Spiky

The views completely sucked:

WheatView

It was a pleasant 22 degrees or so, and the sunset was as always stunning (such soft light here compared to Australia; I can’t describe it any other way than it looks like it’s been smudged or half rubbed out):

Sunset1

There was a mojito bar set up in the ruined BBQ area, plus trestle table bar inside with kegs of wine and champagne bottles. And then of course, everyone had to be fed. So the triumphant organization of this celebration peaked with the Paella King & Queen. We cleared a space in the centre of the Barn, and they just went for it:

The renegade vegetarian/vegan contingent made themselves an amazing quinoa salad, with roasted veg and marinated tofu, and of course there was fresh bread, olives, cherry tomatoes and pistachio nuts galore.

It was a magical evening. A truly global gathering of folk to celebrate the centre of a wheel of Love which is my cousin, her two daughters, their step dad, and the grand matriarch of the whole Australian family wing, my Aunt. My cousin’s brother (obviously also my cousin) bought a traditional genuine French peasant outfit at a local market the day before, so he was stomping around in that, bringing a touch of authenticity. People talked in French and English, a pigeon of both, plus that old helpful standby ‘gestures’, interpretation and charades.

There was a singer and guitar accompaniment, then after copious amounts of baked peaches, apricots, fresh cream and French tarts, I launched my disco playlist to great appreciation, and a couple of hours of dancing went down. Some of us went to bed at 2, others at 5, and some young folk stayed up till 7am, talking & tidying all the glasses ready for washing up.

FANTASTIC 50TH. It felt like a stream of scenes from a groovy arthouse film, as interesting characters drifted in and out of centre spotlight.

Now we face a series of departures, as people travel back to their normal lives in various countries; I have another week here, and am looking forward to the relaxing wind down of less than 35 people at each meal… Abundance is divine, yet also takes a bit of work! I’m so grateful for this incredible opportunity, and feel full up of love for my crazy, colourful, caring and quirky extended family ❤

EveningTables

 

 

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