Monday, 22 December 2008

Christmas eve in France

2692342719_3f114df602 So what do the French eat for Christmas, what is it that the shops are overflowing with and which later comes onto the table. How do they celebrate Christmas in the first place? Apart from chocolate of course, for there's really a lot of chocolate and it's of the best quality too. That's the treat during the holiday season.

Christmas eve is celebrated in France just as in Denmark. The family is gathered and you eat way too much food. The dinner starts late in France, around the same time that most Danes have finished their dinner. Around 8-9 in the evening. The dinner lasts all evening and often you'll not get to the desert before after midnight.

When the dinner is the entertainment of the entire evening, there's of course no time to dance around the Christmas tree as we do in Denmark. And the Christmas carols are only sung at the church for the midnight mass. Which quite a few families still attend, France is a Catholic country.

The food is something special and unique, and very fancy. With several courses of course. The aperitif is usually things like petit four (small stuffed breads baked in the oven), it can be smoked salmon or other like things. With this you''ll of course drink pastis (Pernod etc), whiskey, cognac, pineau, beer, maybe wine or even champagne. Champagne is usually served with some very sweet cakes in France when had as aperitif.

2222619721_4534dd8024For starters there has to be foie gras of course, nothing else is good enough. It's the finest you can serve and the French love it. They serve foie gras with Sauternes wine, which is a very sweet white wine. For the picky ones there'll usually be a fancy paté or smoked salmon. Raw oysters is also a popular thing in France around Christmas. The supermarkets are overflowing with them and they're sold as quickly as they come in. Snails, lobster and other good things are also found on the French Christmas tables.

The main dish is usually turkey. But guinea hen or capon are normal for the smaller families. At the less traditional families you'll find lamb or côte de boeuf (rib steak 3-5 cm thick). At this time the redwine is of course put on the table, and there is plenty of it.

Then we arrive at the cheese. No French dinner is complete without the cheese. And there's a lot of cheese. It's said that France has so many different cheeses, that you can eat a new one every day during the year. The table is loaded with cheese, of course served with tossed lettuce in vinaigrette and baguette. To clean the tongue you see, between enjoying the different cheeses. The red wine is served with the cheese as well, as most of us already know.

76871644_ae18fa8826 And then we arrive at the dessert. It's a special cake, called Bûche de Noel and it looks like a log. This time the champagne will be opened, it's gotten late and most guests are quite tipsy. This is when the Christmas gifts will be exchanged, after a long evening with way too much food and wine.

Merry Christmas from France

Photo: http://flickr.com/photos/cyclonebill/, http://flickr.com/photos/copleys/ & http://flickr.com/photos/masatsu/

No comments: