Joyeux Noël et Bonne année

A gift from Paris in time for Christmas from family members who just got back from the City of Light.  This is a beautifully presented box of Lindt chocolates featuring les Champs-Élysées on the lid and it is almost too good to open.  Almost?  It might happen over the Christmas holidays... ssshhhh, keep the lid on that.

Joyeux Noël et Bonne Année 2017 !

La part des anges

The angels' share, la part des anges, is that part of the alcohol in cognac which is evaporated as the spirit matures in its casks.  I well remember our first trip to Cognac and the air seemed sweet with its aroma.  The memory of that trip came scenting back on a more recent staycation in County Fermanagh.

However, I wasn't expecting the angels' share to be provided by a glass warming technique that we experienced when we visited the Watermill Lodge near Lisnaskea 

Our very friendly and knowledgeable sommelier, Flavien, first placed a brandy glass upside down on his service table and then filled the dimple in the base with a small amount of the house XS cognac.  This he then lit with a gas torch and as the flame took hold he suspended another cognac glass upside down over the rising heat. He did this twice, once for each glass, and then served us a measure of a finer cognac in the warmed glass.  Other diners paused their meals to witness the spectacle.  None of us had seen this before. Flavien clearly had the 'nac.

Pity about the angels.  They got a share of the more modest one on the house.

Follow that?
Well we stayed for two nights at the Watermill and on the second we repeated the experience and then were treated to a visit of the restaurant's wine store. I've never been as close before to some of France's most sought after wines.  Neither the angels nor I were having any of that; the corks were still firmly in place.
Will visit again soon to see how they're doing.......

Michel Thomas

Keeping this spot for an upcoming post on the extraordinary life and work of Michel Thomas.....

In it, I'll be sharing my thoughts on the book The Test of Courage by Christopher Robbins and as a former French teacher I will also give my impressions after having listened to the 8-part CD French Course.

Interested in Michel Thomas?  Check here for Wikipedia article.

French marriage contract 1595

I really am not sure about the text of this treasured possession. I know it is a marriage contract, handwritten on parchment that we bought many years ago. The ink has clearly stood the test of time but the writing and some of the words used are difficult to make out.
It does seem to state that the contract dates from 1595 and it will be a labour of love to decipher and translate the text.  It has defeated a few French friends who have stayed at our home.

Here's a close up of the opening sentences:

Any suggestions?