Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Winter Wonderland~

Posting an update from Belgium! It's soooo cold here, and since I haven't visited Belgium in the winter for years, it's a bit of a shocker. Here's the scene I woke up to that first morning... 

Snooowww! I was just thinking "雪だ!ひさしぶり〜" So pretty~ These are all shots of my grandparents backyard. We really were able to enjoy a white Christmas this year :)


You can really see the sheer amount of snow - apparently they haven't had this much snow during Christmas in Belgium for yeeeaaars. There are several good inches there. Pretty to look at, but driving was super inconvenient. There was mostly ice at first, so you couldn't do much with it either. But once it fell back down again, it became a bit more malleable.

My sister loves playing in the snow (I'm a wimp and hate the cold) so she made a snowman! かわいいでしょう〜?This really made me smile.

As for the holidays themselves, they went really great. Like I said, driving around was rough, but the actual get-togethers went awesome and being able to see family was the best. And the food!
Christmas eve was a home-cooked meal. My aunt and grandmother did a lot of the cooking, with some of the stuff being bought. That's one of the great things about a lot of grocery stores over here - they make some really high-quality ready-made meals.

This is a tray of amuse-bouches. My favorite thing is something that I can't find a photo of, unfortunately - smoked salmon and a avocado and cream cheese mousse wrapped in rolls made of crepes. Definitely would like to try making them myself sometime.

And for the aperitif, champagne with edible hibiscus flowers in them for decoration. I had orange juice, so you couldn't really see the flowers, but they add a nice sweetness to the drink. I actually ate my flower. Odd texture, but it was yummy~

This entrée is foie gras with a salad. I could eat this as a meal, it was so perfect. And my aunt made it sooo pretty!

Main course: Christmas turkey! With "farce," stuffed pears, and croquettes (my favorite *_*). This is when you start getting super full but it's just too tasty to stop. It was a rare occasion after all!

And finally comes dessert: Buche de Noel. It's a cake in the shape of a yule log, and this one was raspberry flavored with vanilla cream, and decorated with chocolate and macaroons.

And then, Christmas day we went to visit the other side of the family, and it was round two! This time we went to a fancy restaurant instead. We got completely distracted and didn't take pictures of all the courses, but here are a couple of examples.

This was an interesting salad with pieces of - I think - melon, cucumber, fois gras, etc... I think this was probably my favorite course. And that toasted bread was amazing. We had two or so other courses before dessert.

I love having multiple little things to eat, especially for dessert. A chocolate cake, ice cream, and a "fondant"/crispy crepe type of thing. Maybe a bit too much chocolate for my tastes and but undeniably delicious.

So you could say that we had a successful Christmas. Good food, good people, good times. And that wasn't it for us.

My mom's birthday is on December 26th, so it's always kind of hard to celebrate it. This year we dedicated the Buche de Noel to her and sang and everything on Christmas eve, but on the 26th my dad went and bought these adorable pastries to celebrate as well. The chocolate ones have meringue, and the snowmen have both raspberry and vanilla mousse, with an outer shell of white chocolate.

And now to go starve myself... heh, just kidding, but these were definitely special meals for special occasions! Hope everyone is enjoying the holidays!
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