The Thirteen Christmas Desserts of Provence

This is a lovely tradition that I first learnt about when sharing Christmas with family, who’ve lived in deepest Provence for a good few years. We enjoyed these on Christmas Eve, le Réveillon , and although you might think that thirteen desserts would be overwhelming, both to prepare and to eat, the idea is you just take a mouthful of each. They’re also mostly natural and simple goodies, such as fruit and nuts, which are intended to represent Jesus and the twelve Apostles.

For the Carmelites and Augustines
For the Carmelites and Augustines

Fruit and Nuts for the Four Religious Orders

To begin with, you should try to represent the four religious orders, by offering the following: almonds for the Carmelites, figs for the Fransiscans, raisins for the Dominicans and walnuts for the Augustines.

From our neighbours' garden (with their permission, of course!)
From our neighbours' garden (with their permission, of course!)

Fresh Fruit


Next you add four plates of fresh seasonal fruit, such as apples, pears, oranges and mandarins.

Not my first choice of dessert, admittedly
Not my first choice of dessert, admittedly

A Choice of Goodies

It’s at this point I think one can take a little licence, and choose the items that either take your fancy or you have to hand, but your choice could include: black nougat and white nougat, to represent good and evil – black nougat was a new term to me, but it’s a hard Provençal nougat made with honey and almonds, as opposed to white nougat, which is softer and made with sugar, eggs, pistachios, honey and almonds.

Other options include: quince jam (pâte de coing), dates, marzipan, candied fruits, waffles, gingerbread and dried apricots or prunes.

For those with a less sweet tooth, there’s the option of a savoury bread, for example filled with sun dried tomatoes, anchovies, olive oil and garlic.

Merry Christmas to everyone at Hubpages!

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Comments 12 comments

Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

So very interesting and I now look forward to reading many more by you.

Take care

Eddy.


Riviera Rose profile image

Riviera Rose 4 years ago from South of France Author

Hi Eddy, thanks so much for your comment.


Funom Makama 3 profile image

Funom Makama 3 3 years ago from Europe

This is "wooooow".... A hub consisting of simple and common items combined to give a great information makes it a complete and unique package. I love this, thanks for the share..


Riviera Rose profile image

Riviera Rose 3 years ago from South of France Author

Thanks, Funom Makama, I appreciate your lovely comment.


travmaj profile image

travmaj 3 years ago from australia

Love this hub - all the information combined with delicious food. Thank you


Riviera Rose profile image

Riviera Rose 3 years ago from South of France Author

Thanks Travmaj, I appreciate your comment!


LaThing profile image

LaThing 3 years ago from From a World Within, USA

Very interesting tradition! This was a neat hub.... I learned something new :)

Thanks for sharing....


Riviera Rose profile image

Riviera Rose 3 years ago from South of France Author

Hi LaThing, so glad you enjoyed it!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

What a great tradition! all that lovely food and info together, loved it!


Riviera Rose profile image

Riviera Rose 3 years ago from South of France Author

Thanks for your comment, Nell Rose - something to try next Christmas?!


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 3 years ago

I love traditions such as this. I would enjoy the sweet desserts or fruits and celebrating with friends the meaning associated with the Christmas holiday. I have not tried quince, sounds like a fruit I am not familiar with. Is this native to France? Great post and very educational.


Riviera Rose profile image

Riviera Rose 3 years ago from South of France Author

Hi teaches12345, thanks for your comment. The quince is actually native to central Asia and the Middle East, and was later introduced to the warmer parts of Europe. The Spanish love it with their wonderful Manchego cheese, and I think in England quince jelly is used like chutney with cold meats and cheese. Thanks for visiting!

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