Bonjour from Banquet Team 1 – Grace, Julia, Azlyne, and Sarah! We were in charge of preparing the first banquet of the semester, and we are going to take you through our journey!
Banquet Team 1 (from left): Sarah, Grace, Azlyne, and Julia
After some deliberation, we decided to make Boeuf Bourguignon as our plat principal (main dish). Julia, who is from Montreal, suggested one of her family’s traditional recipes for Boeuf Bourguignon that she really enjoys. After confirming our plat principal with Dr. Caldwell, we chose the food for our other courses, and settled on the following menu:
Aperitif: Kir Royal
An aperitif is a drink served before the entrée. A Kir Royal is champagne mixed with Crème de Cassis, which is a sweet blackcurrant liqueur.
Entrée: Asperges á la Périgordine
Our appetizer was asparagus in the style of the Périgord region. Most Périgord dishes contain either foie gras or truffles. In our case, the asparagus was paired with foie gras and mini bocconcini.
Plat Principal: Boeuf Bourguignon à la Québécoise / Nouilles aux oeufs
This was the recipe from Julia’s family. Boeuf bourguignon is a dish originating in the Bourgogne region of France. For over two and a half hours, the beef is slowly cooked in a red wine from Bourgogne. Towards the end of the cooking process, mushrooms and small onions are added in the pot. The boeuf bourguignon was served on egg noodles, with a side of cooked carrots.
Salade: Salade verte à la sauce Julia
A green salad with a traditional french salad dressing, consisting of red wine vinegar, olive oil, dijon mustard, salt and pepper.
Assiette de Fromages: Bleu de Gex / St. Félicien / Comté / Palets de Sud-Ouest
We selected a blue cheese from the border of Switzerland, a cow cheese, a hard cheese aged 18 months, and a goat cheese, respectively.
Dessert: Gateau au coeur fondant de chocolat
Rather than baking a dessert, we adopted the French tradition of buying a high-quality dessert from a bakery, or the Marché des Capuçins in our case. We chose a soft chocolate cake.
Vin: Château de Citran
We paired our banquet with a red wine from the Haut-Medoc region of Bordeaux.
Our menu, handwritten by Grace, on display at the banquet.
On Friday afternoon, we made a trip to buy the majority of our ingredients at the Auchan grocery store – a process that took a few hours. We also had to buy some pots and pans in order to make a meal of this magnitude. After shopping, we dropped everything off at Dr. Caldwell’s apartment and went over final logistics.
On Sunday, the day of the banquet, we started the preparation process at 11:30 AM. Azlyne and Sarah went to the market at this time to buy fresh ingredients for the meal. They bought a giant loaf of organic bread that was so big the worker had trouble slicing it, pâté which they discovered was really foie gras, provencal green olives that had one black one mixed in, four cheese varieties that took forever to choose, and a chocolate cake that was simply amazing. They were even successful in ordering everything in French!
While Azlyne and Sarah bought the final ingredients, Grace and Julia started preparing the meal. Meat was sliced into cubes and started in the pot, salad dressing was made, mushrooms and onions were prepared for cooking, and asparagus was boiled (in the microwave!).
Julia starting the process of Boeuf Bourguignon with the first step: cutting the meat
Boeuf bourguignon can be a tricky meal to make, especially when it comes time to blend in all the ingredients, such as the wine and the bouillon (broth). This is because the timing is key while pouring each ingredient, in order to avoid clumps in the sauce. Julia was worried that the sauce was going to be too clumpy, so she decided to make a transatlantic call to her mom via skype. Luckily, her mom picked up the phone! She spent some time advising Julia mid-banquet on how to proceed in order to make the perfect Boeuf Bourguignon. On s’adapte!
We fashioned the room in Dr. Caldwell’s apartment for the banquet by rearranging his desk into an extra table, and then set the places at both tables beautifully for our guests.
The smaller table and entrée
Our guests arrived at 3:30 PM, and we started them off with an aperitif (the Kir Royal), peanuts, and olives, while we finished final preparations to serve the entrée.
Our valued guests (Sebastien, Molly, Fiona) with their aperitifs
The first course, Asperges à la Périgourdine, was served around 4:30 PM. Since we had two vegetarians in the group, we gave them extra asparagus, carrots, and mozzarella balls in place of the foie gras.
We proceeded to eat the Boeuf Bourguignon, followed by the salad and cheeses, completing final preparations between each course. We ended our meal with the chocolate cake (not without fighting over who would get the biggest piece). As the evening drew to a close, there was a special guest appearance from Mina Carolina, Grace’s childhood pop star alter-ego.
Beef Bourguignon on egg noodles, our plat principal
The banquet itself lasted six hours, from 3:30 PM to 9:30 PM. It was a wonderful way for us to spend our Sunday, an event filled with eating, drinking, and socializing. As we finished up our final courses, we were able to admire the beautiful nightfall over the Pont de Pierre.
A beautiful view of the Garrone river from the window Dr. Caldwell’s apartment.
Our team really enjoyed the entire process of the banquet. We are all looking forward to our next banquet – when we get to arrive as guests!
Banquet Team 1 signing off! Stay tuned for our adventures in Paris. Au revoir et à bientôt!
Grace, Azylne, Sarah, and Julia