Joyeux Noël! Christmas a la Provence
Christmas in France is an abundant gastronomical affair. After midnight mass on Christmas Eve, families sit down to le réveillon—a late supper consisting of as many as seven courses. Roasted goose is traditionally served in Alsace, turkey and chestnuts in Burgundy. Oysters, smoked salmon, lobster, and foie gras are also common offerings.
In Provence, dinner on Christmas Eve is enjoyed before mass and called gros souper. The meal is followed by thirteen desserts, which represent Jesus and the twelve apostles. Desserts include nougat, fruits, cheese, and pompe de Noël a l’huile d’olive (a light, citrus-flavored cake). Another traditional Christmas dessert in France is bûche de Noël, which is a log-shaped cream cake. Check out this chic interpretation by French designer Alexis Mabille and pastry chef Sebastian Bauer, which looks like a quilted Chanel bag and is filled with chestnuts, candied apple, and a confit of yuzu and lime.
For French-inspired sweet treats to enjoy here in Boston, stop by the boulangerie at either SDLT Natick or State Street. Special confections for the season include chocolate tea cakes and beautiful holiday cookies. Also grab a loaf of brioche, which makes the most amazing French toast (try this recipe from BLD Restaurant in Los Angeles). And don’t forget to pick up champagne for Christmas morning mimosas!