The Perfect French Christmas Dinner

By Artin Ghafooripour and Conrad Fritz

It’s almost time for Christmas, and countries all over the world are getting to celebrate according to their traditions. A core part of any celebration is the food, and no Christmas party is complete without a feast. The French are no strangers to elaborate Christmas feasts either; in fact, a French Christmas feast arguably has the most varied foods out of any other country’s Christmas feasts. For example, the French start their Christmas meal with their appetizers: baked scallops, escargot in mushroom caps, and fish tartares. From this list already, the unique aspect of a French Christmas feast reveals itself, as the typical Christmas dinner doesn’t include seafood. Of course, the focal point of any holiday meal is the main course. The main dish of the French feast consists of turkey with roasted chestnuts and brussel sprouts along with a cheese course served with French bread. If the dinner organizer wants to avoid making the same dish as on Thanksgiving, duck or capon can be used as an alternative to turkey. Additionally, sea foods like lobster can replace the main dish which further underlines the rich variety of French Christmas meals. Lastly, for dessert, the French have certain pastries and sweets unique to them. Made out of chocolate, fashioned after a tree log, and decorated with pastries in the shape of leaves and berries, the Yule Log (Bûche De Noël, as it is known in French) is a popular and traditional cake that serves as the hallmark for a French Christmas feast. The Yule Log can be bought from a store, however, many families challenge themselves to create their own Yule Log, letting their creativity flow, leading to many unique and delicious designs of Yule Logs each Christmas. It is even possible to get Yule Logs made out of ice cream instead. Regardless of what type of Yule Log is served and whether it is store bought or homemade, Yule Logs are the traditional French Christmas dessert and provide a spectacular finish to the Christmas feast. Finally, if there is still room for a little more food after the feast, clementines and mandarins can optionally be served to scratch that last little itch to eat something, concluding the Christmas feast. Christmas celebrations worldwide are truly some of the best times of the year. This special holiday highlights just how much we rely on culinary arts to make the holidays, and life in general, much more interesting and fun, and the French Christmas feast serves as one of the best examples of this, with its incredibly diverse and unique foods.