Going back to postings of other bloggers, I have seen a lot of suggestions on Christmas decorations, Christmas clothing, gifts, moods etc. etc. so as an addition to all of that I will write today on what I like most: food!
Two years ago I had a pre-Christmas-dinner in Monaco with my landlady from then, now my friend. She showed me some insights on their traditions. It was a pre-Christmas dinner as I went home for the so-called "real deal", meaning Christmas with my family.
I will not go in too many details, as French eat by definition a lot in many variations (and you can hardly see it deposited afterwards on their body), so I picked 3 of my long list of favourites.
The first one, a starter, is smoked salmon served on warm blinis combined with sour cream. A smooth combination of flavours and origins: salty, sweet, sour with Nordic, Russian and European composed a lovely French hors-d'œuvre.
(Picture Source: http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/imageBank/cache/s/_e_73d1d5236a676223e137df8d9124a841.Salmon-Blinis_13K)
The second one, is also a starter and I associate this one more with France than the first one. I could eat it till I would drop: the traditional foie gras. The perfect combination for me? Take some foie gras du canard mi cuit and serve it with toasted bread and jam made out of figs: again you have a salty, fatty flavour embraced by the smoothness of the sweet jam.
(Picture Source: http://www.comptoirgastronomique.com/images/files-extra-fields/coffret-foie-gras.jpg)
Most of the main dishes are found in Germany or Romania as well, so for the third gastronomic favourite, i will go directly to the end of a dinner: the traditional Bûche de Noël. As the name tells us, the traditional preparation and decoration/presentation of this cake is made that way in order for it to look like a log ready to be thrown in the fire. It is generally made from a sponge-cake (or pain d'Espagne) which is rolled into a cylinder, being filled on the inside with a butter-cream and a chocolate-butter-cream on the outside. Some make small mushroom-cakes out of meringue to decorate the Bûche (log) with it or use fresh berries, to give it the chopped-off-branch-from-the-forest-look.
As things evolve in taste and gastronomy as well, several variations of more modern cakes are to be found on the market: from different glazing (strawberries, bananas, etc.) to the small plastic decoration which is put on the cake, as you can see in the picture below. In Monaco I have seen some with small Star Wars or Harry Potter figures. These are of course for the little ones.
Luxury can never avoid gastronomy (or gastronomy can never avoid luxury), so this year a renowned Patissier, Pierre Herme, offers a modern view and presentation of the traditional cake. Nevertheless, the composition is not the traditional one, being made of chocolate biscuits wrapped in a light dark chocolate layer. All to come in a superbe silver box, for stunning 160 Euros in all Pierre Herme boutiques. Or you could just take the time, take a or more family members, and have the fun and pleasure of baking it together. It will probably taste more like Christmas and holidays!