Sunday, 31 March 2013

A Paschal Meal, with great wine

I remember going to a house in our road, when I was seven, with my parents and brother. I remember playing croquet, with my brother, in the garden before the meal and I remember us being the only children there.
I remember the symbolic dishes on the table and I remember a priest being there and breaking bread.

This was my first Paschal meal, a Christian bastardisation of the Jewish Passover. A meal to remember the last meal that Jesus ate, with his disciples. The evening, all those years ago, made a huge impact, because over thirty years later, I am still celebrating it.

Each year we ask ten or twelve people, to come and take part. We have had Agnostics and Christians, it really doesn't matter. It is about breaking bread and sharing a custom.

This Maundy Thursday was no different, only we had it on the Wednesday of Holy Week.
Ten friends joined us to share a Paschal lamb and sing "happy songs", the red was Chateau Beaumont, Haut Medoc, 2006. I have written about this before. It was certainly good enough, to get through five bottles.

For dessert, we had a Sauternes, from Chateau Bastor-Lamontagne.
It came from the 2001 vintage, which was particularly good. The wine is predominantly made with Semillon grapes and relies on Noble Rot to infect the vine and make it sweet.
The straw gold Sauternes had the smell of burnt sugar, pear and vanilla pods. The taste of oranges and cloves initially, are followed by poached pear and Mucavado sugar. It went perfectly with the chocolate mousse, my wife made and served in demi-tasse cups.

We followed this with local cheese and Vintage port, not very abstemious, for Lent, but we will Passover that.


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