Published the 12/19/2019 in Our Selection
Christmas is upon us, so we have decided to share what a typical Christmas meal would look like in France and Bordeaux particularly, with its wine pairing (of course!).
In France, Christmas is the celebration of the year where we will set the best table, open our best wines and oldest vintages - if you have the right people around the table ;) - and spend hours eating and drinking. May it be on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, there is no ”one-fit-all” tradition, rather family traditions.
In this 5-course meal, we give you a glimpse of what awaits us on the Christmas table in the South West. Traditionally, we do not have many vegetarian options (a shame), but we will cover that in later article!
Did you know that oysters are best during months including the letter “r”. I personally think winter oysters are the best, very fresh, so it is always a delight to start with them for Christmas. In Gironde (Bordeaux region), they are served with crepinettes, a sausage-like meatball stuffed with truffle for the occasion. Served warm and well-grilled it does wonders with the freshness of the oyster, a slice of rye bread and some fresh butter.
The wine to go with: bone-dry white wine, unoaked, from Entre-Deux-Mers.
Foie gras cannot be missed for Christmas, and you won’t miss it if you end up shopping in any supermarket or fine store. Served with gingerbread, onion chutney or caramelized apple, everybody has their favourite pairing. In Bordeaux, foie gras is often prepared with sauternes. For the ones wondering about this rather controversial dish, it is good to hear that some producers are moving forward on the matter and trying to find solutions.
The wine pairing: Sauternes, or Jurancon, is made for foie gras. I personally prefer a younger one, with acidity and freshness that cuts the fattiness of the foie. For an original touch, serve it with a glass of Pedro Ximénez sherry.
Traditionnally, we like to eat chapon, capon in english, a cockerel often stuffed with cepes, bouquet garni, bacon, meat and bread. It is a christmas specialty, only eaten for this occasion. It is known for its very tender and juicy meat, and patience is key for cooking this poultry, requiring very slow and low temperature cooking. To eat with fresh potatoes cooked in the juice.
The wine to go with: Burgundy wine and from Bordeaux, we recommend an aged Margaux, Pomerol, Lalande de Pomerol, Pessac-Leognan or Saint-Julien.
There is never a meal ending without a plate of cheese. No specific ones to choose from, and it will be a personal choice between one of the 1200 different cheeses existing in France. Wine pairing will also depend on which cheeses are chosen.
The wine to go with: depending on the cheese chosen, the ideal pairing can differ. I keep a glass of Sauternes from the foie gras, which pairs great with green or blue cheese (Roquefort or Bleu D'Auvergne). Brie and camembert will fit great with a Saint-Emilion, and goat cheese with a dry white wine.
Last but not least, the traditional bûche is likely the signature of Christmas. Ice-cream bases or cream-based ("patissière"), there is no lack of options in term of flavours, from traditional chocolate, vanilla and chestnut, to the more exotic coco-mango-passion fruit.
Wine pairing: champagne, or crémant de Bordeaux if you want to stay local.
It is time for us to set the table, and all the My Private French Travel team wishes you a Merry Christmas!