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What is the traditional French Xmas dinner?


Mr Coeur de Lion

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Having lived here for 4 years and having just sussed out that the French (as well as most of Europe it seems) celebrate xmas on the 24th and early hours of the 25th, I have yet to find out what their traditional xmas dinner is.

First year we had bison, second year it was some sort of French sausage of my region (I forget its name) and last year it was mainly seafood.

So what is it? Is there one, or is it just another excuse to eat lots of different nosh?
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Our neighbours have an 'extended family', so there are typically 20+ of them for the Christmas meal. As you say, it starts for them at 22.00 on the 24th and goes on till 05.00-ish.[8-)]

A couple of years ago, they barbecued a whole lamb outside (it was bloody cold that year!).  Last year was boeuf en croute and / or a sanglier casserole.

I saw Michel an hour or so ago and he told me that they're 27 / 28 this year (he loses count of the number of grandchildren), but he doesn't get involved in the food side of things. That's women's work!!

The only thing that seems constant is the '13 desserts' lark, but I'm not sure if that's just a southern thing.

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Depends on where you are, my wife's family are Breton. So it's 500 (seems like) oysters each (YUK), followed by something the FiL shot (bambi/pigglet), followed bouche de Noel (YUK). Various cruditee, cheese/salad dishes interspersed. Sorry, after 15 years, I'm sick to death of it. The fleeting appearence of a vegetable would be nice.

Apparently huitres remind them of the Cote. That's because they've saltwater still in them[:D] Sanglier reminds them of the Argoat. Personally, they remind me of sn*t and tractor tyres, respectively. The wine's always good though as my MiL was a restaurteur, even had Michelin 1 star. Extra information, the chef from that time, now heads "development" for the company who supply the sandwiches on the motorways, he cheats......gets all his inspiration on twice yearly trips to the UK [:D] (He's my BiL)

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LOL Velcorin I loved your description.  Our neighbours seem to always have snails to start (obligatory), Coquilles St Jacques / oysters, then next course varies.  Menus seem heavily orientated to fish.   We did go the typical reveillon route when we spent Christmas in France a couple of years ago but the resounding family verdict was for traditional turkey / goose on Christmas day etc next time we were there.   However, we haven't been out for Christmas since (too many January exam dates atm!)

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Well, I'm French and this is my version of Christmas eve dinner , I like it traditional, so it may give you a hint

.

- Apéritif ( drinks)  with " amuse bouche" ( home made feuilletés with saucissses coktail inside , home made toasts with salmon or foie gras ( depending on who likes what)

Boudin blanc truffé avec pommes de terre sarladaises

Salade verte et fromages

Buche de Noel chocolat/marrons ( home made)

Chocolats, mandarines, fruits déguisés ( thats dates and figs and nuts filled with pâte d'amandes) ( home made)

Champagne

Coffee

 

Part of my heart is English so I add crackers![:D]

 

Now Christmas day lunch :

-Apéritif with different amuse-bouche

- Coquilles st Jacques à la bretonne  ( home made)

- Chapon et sa farce aux marrons et sauge , haricots verts et petites pommes de terre roties

-Salade   / Plateau de fromages

- Petits " gateaux  de soirée"

-Champagne

- Coffee

And a walk to try and digest it all !! LOL!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Frenchie, I just can't imagine doing all that on Christmas Eve, and then starting again with that lovely meal for Christmas Day lunch! And I think more than a walk would be needed! [:D]

Gardian, I first came across the 13 desserts up at Pontaubault, near Avranches, where we used to stay in a hotel called the 13 Plates, and which had an explanation inside of the superb dessert offerings. I've not seen it anywhere else apart from in the south. I was hoping to be at the 13 desserts fair at Aix, but unfortunately had to be in UK from early December. It's held in a pavilion near the tourist office until Christmas Eve, and has masses of lovely things to buy - and to try! [:D]

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[quote user="velcorin"]

My wife has never been able to explain befor the French have cheese BEFORE dessert. It just seems so wrong. Can you explain?

[/quote]

Velcorin, there really is nothing to explain.

It would be like trying to explain to anyone French that in the UK, you have cheese AFTER dessert. Most people will not even believe you, and those who believe you will be so shocked, they want to know WHY???

Frenchie: I really, really like both your menus. Joyeux Noel!

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To my mind, it makes sense to eat ALL the savoury stuff first before the sweet stuff.

Then you can quaff all your red wind before embarking on your pudding.

Actually, even before I came to live in France but after we bought our French house, I'd started serving the cheese first and explaining that that was what they did in France.

5-e, email in the next day or two.  Just floating about at the moment, between the kitchen and the computer but NO cleaning is being done!!!!!!!  Help!!!!!!!

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[quote user="velcorin"]

Frenchie, have you got 2 spare places? YES !

No Oysters[:D] I dream of meals like that.  We don't like them !

My wife has never been able to explain befor the French have cheese BEFORE dessert. It just seems so wrong. Can you explain?

It just seems to be the right thing to do! For any French person, cheese after dessert just doesn't seem right, very bizarre...

Vive la différence !! [:)]

[/quote]
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[quote user="5-element"][quote user="velcorin"]

My wife has never been able to explain befor the French have cheese BEFORE dessert. It just seems so wrong. Can you explain?

[/quote]

Velcorin, there really is nothing to explain.
It would be like trying to explain to anyone French that in the UK, you have cheese AFTER dessert. Most people will not even believe you, and those who believe you will be so shocked, they want to know WHY???   True !

Frenchie: I really, really like both your menus. Joyeux Noel!  Merci beaucoup !! Joyeux Noël également !!
[/quote]
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Velcorin regarding cheese before pud. The reason I was given years ago is that if you still have wine left to sup you are better supping it with cheese, sup it with pud and the wine tastes awful so it is wasted. Then after the left over wine and cheese you can open a bottle of desert wine to have with your pudding. Hows that?
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[quote user="hakunamatata"]Velcorin regarding cheese before pud. The reason I was given years ago is that if you still have wine left to sup you are better supping it with cheese, sup it with pud and the wine tastes awful so it is wasted. [/quote]

That's what I was told, many years ago, by French friends, when we were trying to explain the differences, and find out why.

But I must admit, port and cheese after, .....  mmm. 

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