The Christmas Eve is a generous dinner for the French families, the perfect moment for share the evening of 24 December. The menu varies depending on the region of France, but it is always an opportunity for the family to sit together around the table and enjoy a variety of delicious dishes. This is an important tradition for the French culture.
Christmas is a time of celebration, which is why the French do not hesitate to get high quality food. The dinner can last for six hours in some families; stay at the table for long hours is a social custom in the country, and the children see it as a magical and unforgettable. This is the perfect opportunity for everyone to blow the food budget and enjoy the specialties of the French gastronomy (snails, frog legs, scallops and truffles).
The Parisians usually eat seafood and oysters with bran bread and butter, caviar, foie gras with gooseberry jam, and the famous “Yule logs” (chocolate cake with a shape of log and a Christmas decoration).
In Alsace and in Bourgogne, turkey (or capon) roasted and stuffed with potatoes is more widespread. In Provence, the turkey is on the menu for Christmas Eve dinner. The foie gras and the log are also consumed in Provence. However, it is a tradition in Provence eat 13 desserts, symbolizing Jesus and his twelve apostles (oranges, pears, apples, plums, melon, white and black nougat, “Pompe à l’huile” that is a traditional Christmas dessert from the South of France. This round cake, which can also be called “Christmas pump,” “Arles’s focaccia” or “gibassier,”* features a typical Provencal ingredient not often found in dessert: olive oil).
The French pay much attention to the creation and the decoration of the Christmas dinner. On Christmas day, food is always an important part of the day, especially at lunch time where it is common to eat a specific dish, such as “Rabbit”, “Coq au vin”, “Vol- au-vent” or “Bouchée à la reine”, etc.