Please continue on “The French Walk” as we explore some holiday traditions in France.
Right now, children in France are probably carefully composing their letters to Père Noël, just as many American children are penning their wish lists to Santa Claus. In keeping with this cultural tradition, the French government enacted a policy (1962) of answering all letters that are deposited into a mailbox by way of a return postcard. In the north of France, gifts are often given to children on December 6th, which is The Feast of St. Nicholas, while in other areas of France gifts are given on Christmas Eve. Then, children will have to wait for the Christmas “goodies” until at least December 12th.
On the twelfth day of Christmas, The Feast of Epiphany is often observed with “galette des rois,” which means cake of kings. It is actually more like a pie with pastry and various fillings most often containing berries or fruit. While our gallettes do not contain a small charm as they sometimes do in France, they do contain the same French butter and other ingredients that are traditionally used in France.
Christmas Eve is when the festivities take center stage, beginning with children placing their shoes by the fireplace in hopes that they will be filled with fruit, nuts and small gifts. Many families attend La Messede Minuit, which is known in the U.S. as midnight mass. Following church services, is Le Reveillon, or the Christmas feast. This observance consists of many different foods and can last until the wee hours of the morning!
During Le Reveillon, especially in the South of France, the bûche de noël (Yule log) was traditionally lit in hopes that it would burn until the new year and bring good luck. Since the late 1800’s however, homage has been given to the Yule log through a culinary chocolate delight of “light as air” Genoise cake rolled with buttercream and decorated for the season. Who is with us when we say we would much prefer a glorious dessert “log” to a piece of burning wood? Be sure to see our Holiday Menu which features our own bûche de noel, a perfectly rolled chocolate cake filled with espresso cream.
Although the bûche de Noël is usually enjoyed during the Le Reveillon, it is certainly not the only dessert for the holiday. There are historically 13 desserts offered after the Le Reveillon to represent Jesus and his twelve apostles often including apples, prunes, figs, dates, nuts and various cookies and pastries. Some of our favorites include macarons, madeleines, chocolate dipped figs, pies and, of course, galettes and büche de noël, which will be available throughout the holidays for your enjoyment.
We look forward to connecting with you over the Christmas season. Whether you dine in, carry out, or order ahead, we cherish the opportunity to offer you the Promenade experience. Our wonderful community means so much to us. May God’s blessings be yours this holiday.
Joyeux Noël! And Bonne Année (Happy New Year)!