Celebrating Christmas at Princess Elisabeth Antarctica
The two cooks whose job it is to feed the hungry BELARE team - Christine and Guillaume - offered a glimpse into Christmas traditions and preparations for Christmas Eve Dinner at the Princess Elisabeth Antarctica.
It's December 24th, 2019, and it's that time in the afternoon for everyone to have a small snack: the fourth meal of the day! Most of the team comes inside to warm up and recharge their batteries with a snack in the dining room for a few minutes before finishing off the rest of the day's work. Dry fruits, peanut butter, hot bread from the oven and instant noodles are there to satiate their growing appetite.
But what are they waiting for? Christmas Eve Dinner, of course!
Since the beginning of the week, the kitchen team has been preparing for this festive meal with the help of volunteers, including carpenters, plumbers and mechanics working at the station.
In the kitchen, we already received our Christmas present on the plane that arrived at the station on December 21st: Many fresh fruits and vegetables from distant Africa add colour, flavour and vitamins to the dishes we will prepare. Fresh lettuce and fruit salad are appreciated by all the foodies at the station.
Even here in Antarctica, three days after the summer solstice, traditions are respected. Tonight, the menu will consist of cheese gougères (a French puff pastry dish), guacamole toasts, mini pizza bites, and bits of cake as appetisers accompanied by some white wine (even here, we can discover South-African oenological treasures!) Everyone will dress up tonight and will be seated around a table featuring duck à l’orange with carrot purée, mushrooms, and broccoli. The traditional Christmas log dessert cake will contain an apple filling and be topped with chocolate and nougatine.
On Christmas Day, the symbolic traditional Belgian brioche pastry representing Baby Jesus - the cognou - will of course be served!
We'll enjoy the Christmas celebrations, because very quickly, everyday life will resume for the whole team.
In the meantime, it's time to return to the kitchen and wish everyone a Merry Christmas!
Picture: The 2019-2020 BELARE team poses for the annual group photo in front of the station - © International Polar Foundation