Last july, as I travelled Brazil with my boyfriend, Nuno, my oldest friend, Latifa, and her brazilian partner, we found ourselves on a stormy night in a crummy little bar in Salvador. The sun was setting as the clouds gathered, creating a view like no other over the cliffs, and the ocean. As I gulped down what might have been my fifth caipirinha – they were exceptionally cheap and it was my birthday – I recall saying “If I were to die tonight, this is exactly where I would want to be, drinking cheap caipirinhas with you in orange plastic chairs”. Having sobered up since, I have reconsidered the question.
As I think about it now, I picture a large garden, maybe the one of the house in Geres (Portugal), overlooking a lake, where Nuno and I spent our first days together. It is late summer, one of those warm evenings when the heat continues to burn long after the sun has set.
Around the table are gathered the five (and a half) most important people in my life : Nuno, my sister and her boyfriend Clément, my friend Vincent, Elise, and their daughter June.
On our plates sit large portions of pasta smothered in a creamy white wine sauce with black truffle shavings, and crispy caramelized onions. In the wooden bowl that is being passed around, a big salad of rucola and baby spinach with fresh juicy figs and a white balsamic and olive oil vinaigrette. The glasses are filled with a good red wine : silky, full bodied, strong, one that taints our lips red.
The playlist has been carefully thought through : it starts off with some Queen songs, « Who wants to live forever ? » and « Don’t stop me now », very appropriate. Michelle Gurevich, Amy Winehouse, Caetano Veloso and Ella Fitzgerald accompany the chatter and laughter during diner, creating for a nice background.
As the lake turns to a black mirror and night sets in, the mood changes slowly : Elise turns on some of those paper lights she adores and dessert comes to the table. It is simple but delicious, a dark chocolate lava cake, one that melts onto the plate as the spoon digs in, covered in thick blueberry sauce. In our glasses, some Porto wine, a sweet old Kopke. The music takes me back home as Léo Ferré, Serge Gainsbourg and Alain Bashung start spreading around a light feeling of melancholia.
Cuddled up in that nostalgia, and with my mouth still full of the bitter flavor of chocolate, I close my eyes and drift away just as Ferré ends with a scream « C’est extra ! ».