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Un grand repas de fête

The Christmas meal is "un grand repas de fête" which means that not only do you eat special food, but that the ambience has to be just right. If you are invited to a meal like this, be careful to remember not to eat too much to start with or you may not be able to finish the meal! Especially if you are in the South of France in Provence, where there are thirteen different desserts on the table!

Un menu à Noël en France?
The following could be a typical Christmas or New Year meal for people in France

Les amuse-guêules.
These are like nibblies and can be a great variety of things. Some examples are:

  • Canapés: little pieces of toasted bread which have delicacies on them
  • Vol au vents: little pastry shells that contain a variety of tasty fillings, usually in a sauce of some type
  • Crudités: little pieces of raw vegetables such as carrot, celery, green peppers.
Les Apéritifs
Often Champagne is served as an apéritif (a before dinner drink). Other popular apéritifs are port (with ice), Kir (Champagne with blackcurrant liqueur called "cassis"), Whisky or Pernod. You add water to Pernod to make it a long drink. When you do this, the drink becomes cloudy.
Pernod

Entrée- Paté de foie gras
This is goose liver paté.  It is very expensive.  You can only eat a little at a time. Sometimes it has a truffle for decoration.

Pâté de foie gras
Les Fruits de mer
This could be seafood, for example, prawns, (les crevettes) crabs, (les crabbes), crayfish (les langoustines) or trout (les truites). The picture shows a rainbow trout.
Trout
Le plat principal - Then the turkey – la dinde.
This comes with some vegetables and is served with a nice sauce.
Christmas turkey
La  salade
After this is la salade – usually a green salad. This is to clean the taste of the other food from your mouth.  It is also a rest between courses.
salade
Le fromage -   Cheese
Now it is the Le fromage or the cheese course. Most people would serve at least four or five different types of cheese.   Some famous types of cheese are: Camembert, Brie and Gruyère.  You would eat the cheese with bread and drink red wine. The cheeses pictured are: on the top, a Camembert, and below, Roquefort. Roquefort is made from ewes' milk and is a favourite.
Cheese
Dessert
Still got some room?  Time for les fruits!  During winter, there are few fresh fruits locally and most are imported from warmer climates. As it’s Christmas, people try to find something really special.  They may buy expensive imported fruit like pineapples (les ananas),Kiwi fruit (les kiwis), mangoes (les mangues), or grapes (les raisins).
Assorted fruits
La bûche de Noël.
Cake for Christmas And there’s more!  Now it’s everyone’s favourite – la bûche de Noël.  This is a chocolate log made from rolled chocolate sponge cake covered in chocolate icing. Miam miam! Click on the link to find out more about this traditional Christmas dessert.
Buche de noel
Le café - Coffee
To finish, everyone would have a cup of coffee.(une tasse de café) and a  very special Champagne. There might be some "petits fours" to eat as well - these are little biscuits.
Cup of coffee

Sometimes people like to drink a "digestif" after their meal. This is a strong alcoholic drink served in tiny glasses. Digestifs are made from grapes or any fruit and are often called "eaux de vie". Some preferred types are: eau de vie de poire; eau de vie de myrtilles; eau de vie de framboise. There is even an eau de vie de sapin!

 

Bienvenue!
 

A "grand repas" at Christmas

     
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