Saturday, 26 February 2011

The holy corkscrew

Anyway, I was well impressed by the scale of the event. There were several hundreds of people in the procession, which started in Vaux, and climbed the short distance uphill to the church of Saint-Ythaire. The various Guilds had their banners and their different uniforms, whereby the “Chevaliers” of the “Confrérie” were not only carrying their Saint Vincent, but also other paraphernalia. Their coat of arms depicts a cork screw and something resembling a hand grenade. Today we had a better look at this coat of arms and only now we found out that the holy hand grenade, on the other side of the holy corkscrew, was in reality a side view of a tastevin, a shallow metal, often silver platter which is constructed to display the colour of the (red) wine, and used by professional wine tasters. All members of the Confrérie were wearing a big tastevin around their neck, and one was carrying a huge corkscrew.
The mass was celebrated in a normal French way. However, because the church was chocker block full, and we were seated in a recess, right behind a bunch of 10 (ten) horn blowers; I almost got a heart attack when completely unexpectedly all ten of them decided to join the congregation in a song.
Then there was the inevitable wreath laying at the war memorial, followed by a vin d’honneur at the town hall.
But what is a fête in France without a lunch? After two o’clock we piled into the Foyer Rural of Saint-Gengoux, where I did a quick count; the tables were laid for 200 people. We found out quickly who did the catering; a company from Montchanin (about 25 km away) had brought over food, professional cookers and cooking utensils and prepared a stunning meal for all present.
Just to make you jealous:
Pâté de canard avec son foie gras et quelques feuilles;
Dôme de sole, queues d’écrevisses sauce du chef avec riz et fleuron;
Trou Bourguignon;
Souris de cerf braisé et ses légumes;
Fromage plateau servi avec noix et raisins;
Mignardises - Café.
And of course there were plenty of excellent local wines served with this meal....
At the end of the meal another ritual had to be performed. A few members of the communes involved were invited to join the Confrérie, and some were even appointed “Chevalier”; they were given the accolade by means of what we have dubbed the holy corkscrew.
As usual with these sorts of events these lunches last at least four hours, after which the real diehards go on dancing until the wee wee hours. We however are spoil sports in this respect; after the last cup of coffee we were completely worn out, and only wanted to go home. And the fact that the band was in shrill contrast with the rest of the day had not much to do with our wimping out, after an excellent day....

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