A Christmas tradition from Provence: The 13 desserts.
December 20, 2017
In Provence, we are famous for being OTT. We speak loudly- hands, sometimes even arms moving while doing so and we are always over dramatic when telling stories. At Christmas time, not only do we consume a huge amount of gourmet, savoury food but we also have to fit 13 desserts at the end of our meal, yes, 13! Well, not really in one go, the sweets are set out on Christmas Eve and remain on the table three days until December 27. They represent the last supper involving Jesus Christ and the 12 apostles.
They vary from one family to another but they usually consist of a selection of these.
1. Dried fruit and nuts.
Walnuts or hazelnuts
Dates, representing the foods of the region where Christ lived and died
2. Fresh fruit
Two kinds of nougat, symbolizing good and evil
Biscotins (biscuits) from Aix;
Calissons d'Aix, a marzipan-like candy made from almond paste and candied melon.
Casse-dents of Allauch (biscuit)
Cumin and fennel seed biscuits
Oreillettes, light thin waffles
Pompes à l'huile or fougasse à l'huile d'olive, a sweet cake or brioche made with orange flower water and olive oil
Quince paste (Pâte de coing)
Yule log cake (buche de Noel)
So much sugar and calories on display, it can't get any better than this, surely.