Christmas Eve: Le Réveillon de Noël

At this festive time of the year, I enjoyed a French Christmas Eve dinner, known as “Le Réveillon” – a typical family-center meal that started with “amuses-bouches” (hors d’oeuvres) and champagne, followed by a delicious, six-course meal with a “pause cadeaux” (a break to open gifts) before the main course was served.  The evening festivities lasted from 8 p.m. to around 1:30 a.m. (dinner started at around 9:30 p.m.), with lively conversations and discussions about politics, wine, food, and an update on personal family topics –  a truly magical evening!

table decorations

amuses-bouches

Foie gras toasts, endive stuffed with cheese, smoked salmon, salmon eggs

champagne

table setting

des huitres

Traditional: Fresh oysters on the half shell

Raw scallops with mango & cilantro

Raw scallops with mango & cilantro

Pumpkin soup with croutons & pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin soup with croutons & pumpkin seeds

Risotto with shrimp, asparagus, and cheese straw

Risotto with shrimp, asparagus, and cheese straw

De-boned pigeon baked in a pastry crust with foie gras sauce

De-boned pigeon baked in a pastry crust with foie gras sauce

Buche de Noel - fruits rouges

Traditional: Buche de Noel (fruits rouges)

Buche de Noel - Black Forest

Traditional: Buche de Noel (Black Forest)

yule log cakes

Yule Log Cake:  “The origins of this most famous and delicious of French pastries can be traced back to the ancient Celtic tradition of celebrating the winter solstice. On this day, the shortest of the year, the Celts would search for a large trunk of either oak, beech, elm or cherry and would burn it. The burning log was a symbol of the rebirth of the sun as well as an offering of thanks to the sun for returning to the earth.”

Source: French Today

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