As president of the regional committee of the French climbing association, Ju was invited to Ségolène Royale’s “voeux” for 2103. To clarify: “Ségo” is from Poitou-Charentes, and since losing her second bid for president to her ex-husband and then losing her deputy seat to another socialist, she has been elected president of the conseil régional. So she threw a huge party to make a speech about the region in 2013.
It was at the TAP (theater) in Poitiers, where neither I nor Ju (who grew up here) had ever been. First Ségolène gave a speech that last about twenty minutes, where we learned things like that gas is cheaper in Poitou-Charentes than anywhere else because it’s the only region that isn’t taxing it. Then we went into the auditorium to hear a few musicians financed by the region.
Then they released us (about 500 people, I guess) on the six or seven buffet tables of local cuisine. Cheese, pâté, even foie gras (though that disappeared quickly), shrimp of all kinds, fancy veggie sauces, and two boats of oysters:
I’m not kidding, there were two of these things! I took advantage of the opportunity to give oysters another chance—but they still just taste like seawater to me. Tant pis.
There was all kinds of good alcohol too: a cognac cocktail (ginger, lime, and cognac), cognac schwepps (Ju says it’s Ségolène’s favorite cocktail), red and white pineau des charentes, red wine, sweet white wine, and champagne (though obviously that would not have been a regional thing). I stopped before the champagne, which goes to show how much I’d already tasted—I love champagne!
The champagne came out at the same time as this huuuuuge frangipane (almond paste king’s cake):
So yeah, there was a charm somewhere in there. But considering that probably 100 different people ate that cake, we’ll never know who got it.
At the end of the evening, it was clear there was a lot of food left over, so the servers started giving it away. We walked away with a box of tartelettes, two butternut squashes, and a huge zucchini.
It was “du gros n’imp” as Ju said.