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End of year celebrations, the French style: an “à la carte” menu!

22 December 2021 Business
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The website of the French Ministry of Agriculture, relayed by the French Government’s information site, has published a whole dossier proposing a menu of truly French products for the end-of-year celebrations. Seafood, champagne, cheese, poultry, traditional “bûche de Noël” (Yule log) and other specialities, all iconic of French gastronomy, are widespread in French festive menus, and illustrate the culinary wealth of French regions.

The website of the French Ministry of Agriculture, relayed by the French Government’s information site, has published a whole dossier proposing a menu of truly French products for the end-of-year celebrations. Seafood, champagne, cheese, poultry, traditional “bûche de Noël” (Yule log) and other specialities, all iconic of French gastronomy, are widespread in French festive menus, and illustrate the culinary wealth of French regions.

 

As the French government website says, only a few days are left before Christmas and New Year’s Eve! Even though in the current pandemic times the number of guests must be “reasonable” again, let’s not forget that “French delicacies from the diversity of our territories are just at our reach”. And French local farmers are inviting you to try their products...

 

The act of consuming, a French and civic move

Since “food means comfort, but is also a civic act”, the French Ministry of Agriculture encourages us to “consume French products”, with no need to pay more. Here is a selection of seasonal and local products to prepare for the end-of-year meals.

Party Poultry

With 23 kilos per year and per capita, France is the third largest consumer of poultry in Europe. They include “poularde” (pullet) and capon are especially produced for the end-of-year celebrations. But that’s not all, there’s also the Bresse turkey with a protected designation of origin (AOP label in French), nicknamed the “black pearl”, the duck, or the guinea fowl, and even the quails... All these poultry are the hero of celebrations and can be accompanied by chestnuts, of French origin, of course...

Spectacular Seafood

Oysters are the star of most festive products because, as the Ministry of Agriculture notes, “their seasonality extends from October-November to February-March, depending on the variety”. And France is also European leader in oyster production with 85% of total production. The majority of these are hollow oysters, harvested on the coasts of Brittany, Charente, Vendée, the Arcachon basin and the Mediterranean regions. Oysters are not the only seafood of choice: don’t forget the scallops, a typical product of the Normandy and Atlantic coasts.

Charming Cheeses

With 46 AOP cheeses, France is “the European champion for cheeses with official quality labels, just ahead of Italy”. Spread over the French territory, these cheeses are a testament of the diversity and richness of the terroir, and guarantee the origin of the product to the consumer, in France or abroad. Behind these 46 designations, which are part of France’s food heritage, there are “14,695 milk producers and 430 processing or maturing workshops that bring these sectors to life on a daily basis”. So, you’re spoilt for choice!

Shimmering Champagne[1]

In 2020, nearly 244.1 million bottles of champagne were produced, 53.6% of which were sent for export. The industry has 16,200 winegrowers with a production area of over 34,300 hectares. Champagne, a sparkling wine made from three main grape varieties (pinot noir, meunier and chardonnay), is the sparkling wine that the French drink on special occasions, at an ideal temperature of 10 degrees...

Dazzling Dishes

If it’s exceptional, then it is... rather expensive! Among these exceptional products, “foie gras” always makes it way on festive tables in France. Anyway, that’s what 78% of French people believe, for whom foie gras is one of the must-have festive products. France is actually the world’s leading producer of foie gras, which can be made from goose or duck (more affordable), and eaten fresh (pan-fried), semi-cooked or cooked...

Another exceptional dish is the black truffle or Tuber melanosporum which is known worldwide as the “Périgord truffle”. The average French production of truffles is 50 tons per year. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, “it has an unique smell of undergrowth, earth and humus, and tastes like fine pepper”. However, these exceptional qualities and its rarity “make the truffle one of the most expensive products in the world”....

Delectable Desserts

One of the king desserts of the season is the “bûche de Noël” (Yule log)! But where does this tradition come from? This vanilla, hazelnut, chocolate (or other more exotic flavours) rolled biscuit was supposedly “born from a rite marking the end of the winter solstice, in the countries of Northern Europe”. But, the ministry specifies, the rolled sponge cake that we eat today “may have appeared in the mid-20th century. And it is only after the Second World War that the Yule log spread throughout France and then to other French-speaking countries”...

 

We hope that this little festive overview, unfortunately far from being complete, made you curious about what France tastes like. All the Campus France and France Alumni teams wish you a very happy end of year, whether it’s gastronomic or not!

 

To know more:

- https://www.gouvernement.fr/la-carte-des-produits-francais-pour-les-fetes-de-fin-d-annee

- https://agriculture.gouv.fr/pour-les-repas-de-fete-les-produits-de-nos-agricultrices-et-agriculteurs-lhonneur

Discover all farmers recommended in France with the dedicated platform in French):

 - https://www.fraisetlocal.fr/ 

 

[1] Alcohol abuse is dangerous for your health. Drink responsibly.

Picture: Pexels




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