Histoire d’un Festin, the Story of a Feast

Imagine. A house on the square of a quaint little village in the East of France. From the windows on the first floor you see the fountain, the road that lazily slopes towards the river, green beyond. 

Imagine a house untouched by time for decades, its dust whirled by tiny furry feet only. A house with random trees growing next to a discarded cast iron stove in the courtyard, a bunch of stray cats reigning over this foreign territory. No merry voices that ring through the open windows, no dancing that shakes the old walls. Instead, melancholy bags of wallpaper and plaster coming down when the faintest movement stirs the air. The old marble fireplace a sorry mess of soot and dust and cracked cast iron plates. 

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Which is why we decided to bring back its old glory, a mad endeavour, mad and enticing and ever so inspiring, for we have a vision, the vision of beauty over destruction, and we will celebrate, someday, in this house, celebrate life and love and creativity with a dazzling feast. The way there is L’Histoire d’un Festin. 

Quite evidently too, it will be a long way. But that’s not the point, for time does not matter. What matters is the joy of creation, of breathing life into something believed dead, finding and restoring the beauty of what was discarded, glamour to what went dim for want of courage. 

The story unfolds in the dedicated instagram account L’Histoire d’un Festin, where I’ll post the latest works and quirks and a great many photographs of what it looks like to restore a ruined home. 

And with a feast in mind and a dinner to be cooked I thought of giving you a simple recipe today, simple but quintessential to any proper dîner francais, the French dinner: les fromages et les fruits, cheese and fruits. They go between the viands and the dessert, the moment you pour yourself another glass of that rich spicy red, or even a little glass of golden sauternes. When you relax a little deeper into your puffy chair and catch the happy spark in your neighbour’s eye, at ease and ever so glad to be so, because after all, everything is alright. 

Les fromages et les fruits, in anticipation of a beautiful festin in a beautiful house with beautiful people, someday: 

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What you’ll need

It doesn’t so much matter which cheese you serve as long as you choose thoughtfully. Guess your guest’s favourites, and don’t forget to include yours. Look around you, the types of cheeses produced in your region, untravelled food often tastes exquisite. If you find the ones from your region too boring think of twisting them with spices, herbs and aromatic oils. 

The same goes for the fruit. No need to run for exotic specimens, for seasonal local fruits are so much more delectable. 

My favourites of the current moment: a matured sheep cheese with quince mustard, along a bowl of muscat raisins, peaches and melons. 

How to prepare it

Take your most beautiful plate and arrange the cheese and fruit, think of the old masters, catch the light, blend the colours. Light candles and serve your guests a glass of wine, muscular velvety red to balance strong flavours, a dewy floral white to pair young cheeses. And the eternal sauternes that goes so well along fruits. 

How to eat it

Serve yourself, small morsels of cheese and fruit, eat it with knife and fork, a morsel of rye bread and that glass of whatever takes your fancy. And enjoy! 

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