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Le Cordon Bleu News, 12/02/2014
Every French region has its own specialty dessert for the festive season!
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Culinary specialties for the festive season

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Every French region has its own specialty dessert for the festive season!
Every region of France marks important celebrations with its own customs and culinary specialties and the festive season is no exception!

Despite the traditional Yule log being part of many French meals on Christmas and New Year’s Eve, each French region also has its own pastry specialty.  Let’s take a closer look.

Provence is well known for its 13 desserts which are traditionally eaten before Christmas mass, including “Pompe à l’huile”, “fougasse” with citrus and olive oil traditionally known as “Gibassier”, as well as a number of candies, including “Calissons”, nougat, and fresh, dried and candied fruit.

In Alsace, “Christstollen” takes pride of place!  This bread, made with dried and candied fruit and filled with almond paste, can be served with mulled wine.  “Birewecke, leavened bread with dried and candied fruit and flavored with Kirsch and “Lebkuchen”, shaped and decorated gingerbread, are also traditional desserts at this time of the year.

In Franche-Comté one dessert has, over recent years, become a symbol of the festive period:  Franc-Comtesse.  This Yule log is made with butter shortbread, chocolate mousse with raspberry, and a creamy vanilla center with raspberry pieces.

In Corsica, “Strenna”, broccio pie, is traditionally eaten at the end of the New Year’s meal.  Chestnut Yule log is also a classic of this period of the year.  The uniqueness of this dessert lies in the fact that the main ingredient is chestnut.  The mountainous regions of the island produce a vast quantity of chestnuts, making them the region’s star product.  They are also used to make the famous AOC chestnut flour.

In Aquitaine, “Guinettes”, sour cherries in brandy (eau-de-vie) covered in chocolate are very popular during the festive season.

Lastly, in Brittany, festive meals were traditionally very light.  After mass, pancakes or other frugal snacks were eaten before ending the meal with a classic star-shaped “Fouace”, a French pastry which was originally made from an unleavened wheat pancake that was cooked under cinders.


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