Trust the French to have a million different types of Christmas dishes. But all jokes aside, what does constitute a typical Christmas dinner? After midnight mass on Christmas Eve, the French gather to eat a feast called le réveillon in the French language which basically means Christmas Eve in English. And boy, is it a feast!
It consists of oysters, snails, seafood, smoked salmon, caviare the works basically! Following that, they bring out the bird. Most popularly the French eat a goose for their Christmas dinner, which happens at around 1 am – not very good for the waistline some would say.
But beside this typical Christmas eve dinner two-course meal, the French are able to offer us many many more hours of eating in the form of a third course. A third course multiplied by three. They have thirteen desserts that are classical for the Christmas party. They are as follows (though the choices may vary):
- Quince Cheese
- Nougat blanc
- Nougat noir
- Winter Melon
- and lastly, Fougasse (Provencal bread).
Not much of a desert you may think; quantity over quality here it seems. But the 13 deserts are symbolic and they are also only confined to the provance region. They represent Jesus Christ and the twelve apostles. They are traditionally set out on the 24th and remain on the table until December 27. Why? Ask a Frenchman. If it is anything like the Bulgarian tradition, then the food is left out for the dead to feast. Though something tells me the French are not this superstitious.
The more common dessert is the Yule log desert which looks like a log. Creative. It is known in the French language as Bûche de Noël and is basically a type of roulette filled with butter-cream or booze or coffee or whatever you would like. Tasty tasty.
Either way, Christmas in France seems delicious; what with all the oysters, wine, cheese and geese – not to mention the THIRTEEN deserts, all at 1 am in the morning? Sounds like fun to me.
If you would like to learn more learn more about French Christmas traditions please click here.