|Advent day 17 Colombard-Chardonnay white and Biere Blonde|
Advent day seventeen, Thursday 17th December 2020
I’m feeling a little nervous as I write this as in my kitchen are all the component parts for my second attempt at Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s French Onion Tarte for this week’s December recipe challenge. The pastry has been blind baked, the onions gently softened and golden, and all I need to do now is fill the pastry with the onions, egg and cream mix and try (this time) to cook it thoroughly. Wish me luck.
My kitchen has been my place of refuge today, which I am hoping is a good omen for an edible onion tarte. I have baked a carrot cake and another batch of mincepies and both went without a hitch. We have also topped up the mulled wine, to ensure we don’t run out, and the whole house smelt delicious and Christmassy this morning. Baking is a great distraction from Covid-19, although the news that the French President, Emmanuel Macron, has tested positive and that most of our family in the UK are now in Tier 3 zones, did filter through to my happy place.
The advent offerings today were a fresh Colombard Chardonnay white wine for me and a Biere blonde for Adrian. My wine is in the fridge, but I think it might be a mulled wine apéro for me tonight and I’ll save the white for a sunny bike ride when the weather is warmer. These little 185ml bottles are the perfect size to keep and reuse, ensuring all bike ride picnics will be that bit more refined and decadent next year. I can’t wait.
France Trivia advent calendar, day seventeen, François Truffaut.
We are delving into the world of French cinema for today’s advent trivia and I’ve picked François Truffaut, for the simple reason the college (secondary school) Ed went to in Chef Boutonne, is named after him. François was a mere film critic before becoming one of France’s best-known directors from the New Wave of cinema. Larousse tells me it was the strength of his storylines, and the sensitivity and the truthfulness of his characters that made him a master of the French cinema. Each of the classrooms at Ed’s school were named after one of his films, and here are just a few you may have heard of.
Les Quatre Cents Coups 1959 [The Four Hundred Blows].
Jules et Jim 1962 [Jules and Jim]
La Nuit Américaine 1973 [American night]
Le Dernier Métro 1980 [the last metro]
Fahrenheit 451, his first non-French film
With Ed studying cinema as part of his degree, I asked him for his opinion on François Truffaut and he says that Truffaut is a very down to earth film director. Some of the French New Wave directors could be a little unconventional at times. Truffaut, on the other hand, made films that even though touched complicated subjects and may have hidden meanings, were told in a clear way and could be understood by all audiences.
He was such a harsh film critic before becoming a director that when he announced that his directorial debut Les quatres cents coups would be first shown at Cannes Festival 1959, other filmmakers were looking forward to having their turn finding faults in his work. Once the film had been shown, they found that… there was nothing bad to say about the film, thus making Les quatre cent coups the first French film considered of the New Wave, and Truffaut the most popular director of this cinematographic movement.