I’m not greedy, but I can’t help thinking I should be in Provence today. With my sweet tooth, I would be far better catered for there than here in Aquitaine. Part of the Provençal tradition for celebrating Christmas is to have 13 desserts. My mouth is watering at the mere thought of it.
That sounds even better than my usual favourite dessert: seconds.
The 13 desserts – known locally as calenos – are served at the end of the Christmas Eve meal, le gros souper. The tradition was established in the 1920s.
The number 13 is meant to represent Jesus and his 12 disciples. The actual dishes vary from town to town, and from family to family.
The first four desserts, les quatre mendiants, represent the four monastic orders. So there are raisins for the Dominicans, walnuts or hazelnuts for the Augustines, dried figs for the Franciscans and almonds for the Carmelites.
Then there are fresh fruit, such as apples, pears and oranges.
“I was hoping I would be able to scan a dessert table, taking a profiterole from here and slice of tarte Tatin from there”
I have to admit that the further I look into this, the less keen I am. I was hoping I would be able to scan a dessert table, taking a profiterole from here and slice of tarte Tatin from there. Fruit and nuts just aren’t cutting it for me.
The true meaning of Christmas – at least for me – is chocolate flavoured.