What’s in a Traditional French Christmas Dinner?

What Do French Eat in Christmas?

Are you planning to spend your Christmas holidays in France? If so, be prepared to experience a culinary adventure unlike any other! 

A traditional French Christmas dinner is decadent, exotic, rustic, and mouth watering. After partaking in this special feast, you’ll be smiling for days.

Come the holidays, French chefs pull out all the stops to make a memorable Christmas meal.

Here’s what you can expect in a traditional French Christmas dinner.

Gratin dauphinois is a French dish of sliced potatoes baked in milk or cream, using the gratin technique, from the Dauphiné region in south-eastern France – a popular dish to eat in Christmas.

1. Boeuf Bourguignon

This is a classic French dish that is enjoyed in every household. The beef is stewed in velvety red wine and braised with a selection of country vegetables. This stew is cooked slowly to marry the flavors of the wine, beef, and vegetables. 

2. Foie Gras

The ultimate decadent dish, a traditional French Christmas feast is incomplete without it. This goose liver pate is topped with a rich sauce and served with freshly baked bread. Foie gras is the perfect appetizer to kick start your luxurious dinner.

3. Escargots

This is another must-have accompaniment in a traditional French feast. Specially bred snails are perfectly cooked with a mélange of herbs and topped with a buttery sauce, served with rustic bread. Escargots are served as the first course during a special meal. 

4. Caviar

A beloved muse bouchée, the French cannot start any festivity without their beloved caviar. It is often served atop a mini buckwheat pancake or cracker and served with white wine. Many consider this appetizer a part of Christmas tradition. 

5. Souffle

You have not experienced decadence unless you’ve tasted a souffle. It’s no secret that the French are in love with these delicate delights. At Christmas, savory souffles are made using spinach, cheese, and butter. If it is served as a dessert, a chocolate souffle is the best end to a traditional feast. 

6. Gratin Dauphinois

You will never want mashed potatoes again after having the traditional French version of this vegetable. Gratin Dauphinois is often served as a side dish on Christmas Eve. It is a delectable medley of sliced potatoes layered with cream, garlic, and various types of cheeses. The medley is baked until all the flavors gel together to form a melt-in-your-mouth delight. It pairs perfectly with chicken, turkey, and beef. 

7. Wildfowl

Bored with having turkey every Christmas? Try wildfowl. In the last few years, wildfowl has replaced turkey and lobster as the main meal at Christmas dinner. In France, wildfowl is goose, quail, pheasant, or guinea fowl. It is roasted in red wine and herbs, and served with roasted potatoes. 

8. Buche de Noel

A traditional French Christmas feast is incomplete without a rich and delectable dessert. The Buche de Noel is an important and traditional French dessert. Popularly known as the yule log in the West, it was first created in 1800 by a French pastry chef. The Buche de Noel is a luscious cake layered with buttery cream. It is shaped and sculpted to resemble a tree log. Decorations such as shrubs, grass, and mushrooms are crafted from meringue. 

9. Roast Turkey

A traditional French turkey is often enjoyed at Christmas dinner. Unlike the American version, the French roast their turkey with chestnuts. It is served with a variety of side dishes like fresh salads, roasted vegetables, and potatoes. 

10. Thirteen Desserts

This is a special dessert that pays homage to Jesus Christ. In French Christmas tradition, it is customary to end a fest with thirteen desserts. The number represents the disciples of Jesus who were at the last supper. The desserts range from cakes, fruits, tarts, to donuts. 

Make your Christmas memorable with a traditional French dinner. 

Foie gras is a specialty food product made of the liver of a duck or goose. According to French law, foie gras is defined as the liver of a duck or goose fattened by gavage. In Spain and other countries, it is occasionally produced using natural feeding
Chef Mark Dubois

Mark Dubois grew up in a tiny village in the South of France where fresh ingredients, traditional recipes, and fantastic french wines are present in every house and corner. Chef Mark is specialised in Mediterranean Gastronomies, but he is more passionate about baking. Chef Mark is currently working as a hosted Chef in different restaurants around Europe.