Another old favourite at Christmas in Europe is the European buffet. Each delegation brings along one or more specialities from their region to share with all the participants. Some of these specialities need to be prepared in the kitchen – and this is why the organising school had made available all its facilities, including two kitchens. And on the afternoon of December 3rd these two kitchens were the scene of an extremely relaxed working atmosphere, though the work was concentrated, and the spirit very European!
On the dot of 20.15, in the "Festsaal" of the Panhans hotel, the European buffet was declared open: flags were waved in the mezzanine and the room was filled with the sound of the school choir conducted by Bernadette Putz – a moment of high emotion among so many others, before Jürgen Kürner addressed the assembly to welcome the VIPs and to thank the choir for its fine performance. He also thanked the delegations for the fine spread they had prepared and wished everyone a pleasant evening – his words being relayed by the interpreters Thomas Gasteiner and Anna Posch. Klaus Enengl, AEHT vice-president, declared that this was a remarkable evening and said how happy he was that Christmas in Europe was being held in his native Austria. He commented that the success of such an event depends on three factors: painstaking preparation such as that carried out in Semmering; school directors who are willing to send their teams, even great distances; and finally the warmth, the open-mindedness and the commitment of all concerned during the event. ‘Christmas in Europe is one of the most important dates in the AEHT calendar – let us look forward to future versions of this event,’ he concluded.
Then the guests had their work cut out to taste all the specialities on offer. For many people there was a real dilemma: which dishes should they choose? Meanwhile the choir and orchestra performed Christmas music, including the famous ‘Feliz Navidad’; and towards the end of the evening the orchestra played dance music which many participants were unable to resist.