What is the tradition of thirteen desserts?
"The thirteen desserts are the traditional dessert foods used in celebrating Christmas in the French region of Provence. The "big supper" (le gros souper) ends with a ritual 13 desserts, representing Jesus Christ and the 12 apostles. The desserts always number thirteen but the exact items vary by local or familial tradition. The food traditionally is set out Christmas Eve and remains on the table three days until December 27."
Dried fruit and nuts
"The first four of these are known as the "four beggars" (les quatre mediants), representing the four mendicant monastic orders: Dominicans, Franciscans, Augustinian and Carmelites."
• Raisins (Dominicans)
• Walnuts or hazelnuts (Augustines)
• Dried figs (Franciscans)
• Almonds (Carmelites)
• Dates, representing the foods of the region where Christ lived and died
• Dried plums from Brignoles
• Winter melon
• Biscotins (biscuits) from Aix;
• Calissons d'Aix, almond-paste pastry with sugar icing (marzipan)
• Candied citron
• Casse-dents of Allauch (biscuit)
• Cumin and fennel seed biscuits
• Fried bugnes
• Fruit tourtes
• Oreillettes, light thin waffles
• Pain d'epice
• Pompes à l'huiles or fougasse à l'huile d'olive, a sweet cake or brioche made with orange flower water and olive oil
• Quince cheese/quince paste (Pâte de coing)
• Yule log
Two kinds of nougat, symbolizing good and evil
• Black nougat with honey (Nougat noir au miel), a hard candy made with honey and almonds
• White nougat (Nougat blanc), a soft candy made with sugar, eggs, pistachios, honey, and almonds
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"In France and some other French-speaking places, a réveillon is a long dinner, and possibly party, held on the evenings preceding Christmas Day and New Year's Day. The name of this dinner is based on the word réveil (meaning "waking"), because participation involves staying awake until midnight and beyond. In Portuguese-speaking countries, it is also a designation for the party preceding the New Year's Day."
"The food consumed at réveillons is generally of an exceptional or luxury nature. For instance, appetizers may include lobster, oysters, escargots or foie gras, etc. One traditional dish is turkey with chestnuts. Réveillons in Quebec will often include some variety of tourtière."
Dessert may consist of a bûche de Noël. In Provence, the tradition of the 13 desserts is followed: 13 desserts are served, almost invariably including: pompe à l'huile (a flavoured bread), dates, etc.
Quality wine is usually consumed a such dinners, often with champagne or similar sparkling wines as a conclusion.
"There are certain traditional differences of character between the Christmas and New Year's Day réveillons."
"Christmas is traditionally a Christian occasion, celebrated within the family, and this family character is retained even among non-believers."
"The New Year's Eve, or Saint-Sylvestre, réveillon, on the other hand, is commonly a party with friends, etc. People may also go out to a cabaret show, or watch live relays of such shows on television."