At 5pm, we went over to the Virtuoso Restaurant, location of the press conference from Thursday afternoon. There we had a special cocktail reception to celebrate the closing of the festival, and while Howard Shore wasn’t able to make it (he was resting up before the big night!), it was still a fun and casual affair. The food was mainly finger-food, but would easily suffice to serve as a last meal for the evening. They had a nice selection of herring, bread, cheese, crackers, keilbasa, salads, and other goodies – including the most bizarre food I had encountered on the trip: a chicken jello shot. Basically chicken salad but with gelatin instead of mayonnaise, molded into shape via a shot glass. I think the gelatin was made with chicken stock. I was told that it was better than the pork version (which apparently would have included bits of the pig that I have no desire to ever intentionally consume), so I gave it a try. It tasted just fine – but the texture was really strange and unappealing.
Luckily, they had three different types of vodka infusions that were homemade by the bartender – chocolate, strawberry and ginger. All were incredibly strong, but very tasty. The ginger was the best one, with a clean finish. After the reception finished, I made one last quick run to get a few final souvenir items at the marketplace, and then went back to the hotel to clean up and get ready for the final concert.