Phew, it’s already the last week of 2014! I can’t believe it. I was lucky to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas day with my family, who all descended on Sacramento for a few days of fun, games, gifts, and food. Oma, my grandma, prepared her signature holiday dish—a capon stuffed with chestnuts, veal, and pâté. My brother-in-law wrangled a 13 lb. roast for our 12-person celebration, meaning there was plenty for everyone. I created a cheese plate on Christmas Eve of Comté, Quicke’s Cheddar, Chimay, Pont l’Evêque, and Vermont Creamery‘s Bonne Bouche, all acquired at The Rind in downtown Sacramento, managing to get a photo before it disappeared quickly into everyone’s bellies. Dessert was a hazelnut chocolate Bûche de Noël from Freeport Bakery in Sacramento.
No Christmas is complete in my family without fun and games, of which there were plenty! After Christmas Eve dinner, my sister brought out Bầu Cua Cá Cọp, a Vietnamese gambling game that we used to play at Lunar New Year celebrations when we were little. The concept is pretty simple. There is a board with six circles, each with an image of an animal (and one gourd). Players place their bets on their animal(s) of choice. There are three six-sided dice, with each face corresponding to an image on the board. If your image comes up in any of the dice, you win something. For a long time, Oma was winning the round, before my mother got the upper hand. Then, it was my sister’s turn, and finally my time! It was a raucous, loud, and happy game. After that, a midnight visit to the bowling alley rounded out Christmas eve nicely.
On Christmas day, everyone had mellowed out considerably. My brother-in-law’s’ mother made two delicious gâteaux basques from scratch. When it came to presents, my sister gave me a beautiful monogrammed cheese board and cheese serving dishes! I can’t wait to feature them on the blog!
And how could I leave out the dogs? My family has 4 of them, all rescue dogs, and all of them small-ish, white, and fluffy. It was a treat seeing them all disappear into their own hiding spots after M. Cheesemonger presented each one with a chew bone.
It was a special Christmas, a joyous way to close 2014. Now, with 2015 looming so close, I am looking forward to sharing so much more cheesiness with you!
*I’m going to have to get some of these recipes . . . . sit tight!