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Raymond Blanc's Christmas Feast
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“Who’s got the biggest one?” chuckles Blanc as he forages for chestnuts in Hampshire. “But, of course, it is Raymond!” The Michelin-starred French chef might be creating his Gallic banquet entirely from British ingredients, but he’s not above a genial jibe that chestnuts across the Channel are a lot bigger than English ones.
Still, he adores our Christmas pudding (“You die a little, but who cares?”) and has made concessions to his adopted country’s palate, so the golden goose that follows the traditional French seafood entrée comes with chestnut stuffing, brussels sprouts and crunchy roasties. He even sips a flute of Cornish sparkling wine instead of champagne. But the pièce de résistance is Blanc’s bûche de Noël: a chestnut parfait with whipped cream and marzipan toadstools.
The chef serves his take on festive lunch with a sumptuous menu of starters, main courses and desserts, full of Gallic flavour but all cooked with the best British ingredients. Golden goose is the centrepiece, served with ruffled roast potatoes, chestnut stuffing and an intense orange sauce. He completes the menu with a simple but elegant seafood chowder and a spectacular platter of Cornish shellfish, and a Galette des Rois - layers of puff pastry, almond cream and caramelised pears, a great dessert for throughout the festive season.
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