Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Longest Day

How I Spent my Summer Solstice.

1. I watched Balinese dancers in a garden.

They were moving to the Gamelan Raga Kusuma, a community-based ensemble who were playing new and old Balinese music outside the Anderson Gallery.

Which, as you might imagine, is a pretty amazing thing to experience on a very hot and long first day of summer.

The dancers were positively bewitching; they moved different body parts for each and every beat of the music.

And that includes facial gestures, fingers, eyebrows and eyes.

Even smiles came and went with the music, although always controlled smiles, never showing any teeth.

Impeccable timing with small movements allowed them to follow the fastest beat.

In one piece, two dancers squared off trading gestures, even flicking the scarves that hung from their costumes, in a call and response to each other.

And if it was sheen-inducing standing in the garden listening to a Gamelan orchestra play beautiful seven-tone melodies, the dancers in traditional costumes, which wrapped their bodies with heavy, jewel-covered fabrics, must have been sweltering.

They never let on, always appearing placid and pretty in the Summer Solstice sunlight.

Yet again, it was happy hour heaven thanks to the Anderson Gallery's summer series.

2. I had a champagne dinner with two Frenchmen.

Amour was doing a double celebration: their second anniversary and the Summer Solstice.

Best of all, they were doing it with bubbles from Champagne to Virginia.

But what they were really trying to prove is that bubbles pair with every kind of food.

Smoked salmon mousse on buckwheat blinis with candied lemon peel got us started.

Thibaut-Janisson Cuvee D'Etat Blanc de Blanc had the same bright, fresh flavors as the vegetable spring roll with orange/apricot sauce it accompanied.

When it was poured, the owner asked for votes on whether it was a true champagne or not and the majority said French.

The majority were wrong.

An amuse bouche of Comte in puff pastry followed and winemaker Claude Thibaut spoke in his charmingly-accented French to explain his passion for bubbles.

Sole fillet with white and green asparagus and a champagne sauce was paired with Janisson et Fils Brut Rose, a bone dry pink that cut the richness of the fish effortlessly.

From pink we went to blue with Janisson et Fils Brut Bleu and a raisin-stuffed quail on a vegetable nest.

On my way to the W.C., I was introduced to the winemaker and he admitted that this was his favorite pairing of the evening.

With golden raisins in a savory stuffing, and the Bleu enhancing every bite. it was mine, too.

If I were going to start a blue bottle tree, this is what I'd happily drink until I had my tree ablaze in blue.

Brie in puff pastry followed while Claude explained his final wine.

It was everyone's favorite everyday local bubbles, the Thibaud-Janisson Virginia Fizz, with dessert.

Puff pastry with coffee-flavored whipped cream, cherry clafoutis (using Julia Child's recipe) and red berries gratin all worked with the slightly sweeter Fizz.

Replete and completely convinced of the food-worthiness of bubbles, both French and Virginian, the long day sun had finally set into darkness.

By the time I said goodnight to the two Frenchmen, I felt like I'd had the ultimate summer repast.

There was only one way left to celebrate Midsummer Day.

3. I did not dance naked in the moonlight.

Because with all the clouds tonight, there was no moonlight. Luckily, the Druid police hadn't been out.

Anyway, tonight had been all about celebrating the sunlight.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Karen, I am very happy to hear that you have enjoyed the evening.
    Have a glass of Champagne every day and keep smiling.


    Claude Thibaut