Sunday, December 17, 2006

A Beautiful Home

A little German christmas tradition: Light three candles. Today, it's the third advent (Sunday) and only one week to go before Christmas Eve.
I am once again amazed how this year has just flown by. A good hearted soul always tells me: you just see the time going by so quickly because life is not dull and you are constantly doing something. If you had a boring life, one minute would feel like an hour, an hour like a month, a month like forever, and a year like eternity. Looking back at all the events that happened throughout this year this saying holds some definite truth.
So how do you get in the christmas spirit when you are caught up in way too much work? The answer came by a phone call. Our great friends Mark and Ruth invited us for a christmas dinner at their house. We have been going to so many great places these past few months that I was curious what Ruth was up to. I don't want to gossip about my friends but at least I can brag a bit. Mark and Ruth have a beautiful home. In fact, it is one of the most beautiful homes I have ever been to, here in Malta and abroad. It is not primarily the interior or decor or the size of the place but the feeling of home and warmth that the two of them have accomplished perfectly, making it such a wonderful place to be. One of the reason for it is Ruth and her absolute perfection for love and attention to detail. If you ever have the chance to receive one of her sought after dinner invitation you will know what I'm talking about. She has a God given gift of filling a room with life and food with love. I have been trying to persuade her to take things on a professional level, but she is all humble and happy when she can spoil her dearest ones, seeing them happy and content.

While I haven't had decorated my home at all, Ruth and Mark's home was radiating with christmas atmosphere. This evening was the first time I was realising, hey it's December and only a few weeks to go before the ultimate feast of the year.
We started the night off with Moet & Chandon. After the delicious champagne of Ta Frenc Restaurant you just cannot go back to sparkling wine, right?!
Mark had a wonderful surprise gift for us: his own home made white and red wine. I love surprises and gifts (who doesn't actually?). We had a try from his new Muscato white wine. I was literally amazed how good it came. It has a very rare and flowery/fruity bouquet, mild scents and a taste ranging from pear, vanilla and strawberry. Actually this wine turned out so well, I am sure it is something that everybody would enjoy drinking.

Another surprise and great idea were the appetizers and the dessert. They came in form of a cheese and chocolate fondue. I always wanted to try one of these.

I always have a highlight of the evening. Most of the time it's the dessert, especially if it is something chocolatly. This time, it was a difficult decision to make between the yummy dessert and the main course. But I have to say, Ruth blew me away with her main course. Oh my, this is serious stuff!!! Mark picked fresh fish form the market and Ruth worked her magic. She filled the fish with salmon and a herb paste, cooking it in the oven where all the flavours blended with each other. It was so tender, topped with rosemary and tasting nothing like the usual fish dish. Complimentary, it was served with the most delicious vegetables. The carrots were naturally sweet and Ruth has a little secret herb she uses for this special sweet infusion. My grandfather who loves potatoes and insists every proper meal to be served with them, would have become obsessed with her oven baked pomme de terre. I couldn't tell anymore what tasted better. I was immersed in all the flavours and it was out of this world!

I truly had one of the best evenings since moving to Malta. The personal atmosphere just added to my well being. I think we ate at talked for five hours, surrounded by candle lights.
I had to take a picture of Ruth fridge after seeing her arranging the left overs of the dinner. Have you ever seen such a well staked and perfectly organised refigerator? This is acutually a photo from Mark's camera, mine started to suffer from serious camera shake... mind you it was late!
Another photo from Mark and a small sneak peak of their home and their christmas spirit.
Thank you Ruth and Mark for a wonderful evening and your hospitality. It was the crowning of a great year!
A wonderful christmas to all of you out there from Marco, I, Ruth and Mark! (from left to right)
Look out for a crib episode, coming next year!

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