Christmas dinner is something we all look forward to every year. Turkey, Yorkshire puddings, and roast potatoes… not forgetting the pigs in blankets, and maybe even a sprout or two. But this year, why not put an international spin on your festive feast, with a traditional French Christmas spread?
Le Réveillon de Noël
If you think French food is luxurious throughout the year, you should see what’s on the menu for Christmas dinner. Traditionally, the big get-together in France was held in the early hours of December 25th, after the family returned from Midnight Mass. Known as Le Réveillon de Noël, the meal now tends to happen at about 8pm, going on until midnight when the family might go to mass. The food is a feast for the eyes as well as the tastebuds, though it’s usually a little lighter these days, as there’s a big lunch to come on Christmas day.
Petits fours can be followed by a hot entrée of Burgundy snails, scallops, then foie gras with toast or crackers to tantalise the taste buds before the main event: a seafood platter or roasted poultry. Cheese precedes dessert; for those with a sweet tooth, it’s all finished off with a classic Bûche de Noël: a Yule log. Chocolate, and plenty of champagne and other French wines are likely to feature. There are sometimes a few small desserts for picking at, too, like macarons if you still have room!
Once everyone’s had their fill, it’s time for bed. But not before the children have placed their slippers under the tree. Father Christmas gives all the presents in France, and there’ll be plenty of excitement on the morning of the 25th.
Christmas Day in France
While the traditional Christmas dinner is held on Christmas Eve, or early Christmas morning, December 25th often involves a substantial lunch that can last for hours. You might see oysters, lobsters, boudin with truffle, capon, cheese including truffle brie, more Bûche… and some sweet petits fours!
The different courses will be served throughout the afternoon while the little ones open their presents and enjoy the magic of Christmas. There may be a “trou Normand”; a scoop of ice cream served with a strong alcohol to clear the palate between the entrées and the main course.
A French Christmas this year?
Is a traditional French Christmas sounding too good to pass up? The good news is you don’t have to cross the Channel to enjoy the classic tastes of festive France. At BonneBouffe, we specialise in authentic French food online, bringing you what you need to make your own French feast at home.
So this year, why not swap your prawn cocktail starter for some beautifully garlicky escargot? Or your fruit trifle for a traditional Provençale chocolate cake? And with a wide range of French gifts available, you never know just what Père Noël will be leaving wrapped up under the tree!