Traditional French Christmas Menu

Here is the ultimate guide of dishes and drinks to celebrate Christmas like in France. You’ll see that traditions continues and discover what a classic “repas de Noël” feast looks like.

Although each family or each region have its own preferences or customs, French classic Christmas is a traditional affair and really means festive dishes with ingredients you won’t eat except on special occasions, or find easily, the rest of the year.

Foie Gras Terrine

Foie gras, which is often homemade, is the one that immediately comes to mind and really represents Christmas in France. Foie gras is eaten on different kinds of bread toasts, brioche bread or gingerbread, sometimes spread fig or onion confit.

Seafood Platter and mainly Chilled Oyster

Oyster are served on a large platter often covered with a bed of ice to keep Oysters chilled. They are served with lemon wedge to squeeze or the mignonette sauce made with red wine vinegar, chopped shallots and black pepper.

Smoked salmon

Even French kids love to eat smoked salmon, on blinis or thin white sandwich bread slices. An essential for Christmas that is now eaten all year long and used as in ingredient for many fancy recipes.

Scallops

The French love scallops as they are very delicate and luxurious. They like to present scallop in its shell or choose to briefly fry them to dress with a sauce. Among the favorite preparations are orange cream sauce, braised endives with honey. Scallop tartar is getting more and more popular.

Capon or Turkey with chestnut stuffing

This is the most popular and classic Christmas dish. Capon or Turkey is braised in the oven with a generous chestnut stuffing. Sides are classic : chestnut again, green beans wrapped with bacon, truffle mashed potatoes…

Wild Game

Almost not eaten the rest of the year unless there’s a hunter among relatives, wild game is often on Christmas tables may it be venison, wild boar or pheasant. Often marinated in red wine or served with a sauce (wine or cranberries for example).

Sophisticated Fish Preparations

As Christmas is a Christian feast where fish as a sign of abstaining, the French like to have fish for Christmas but fancy species like monkfish, turbot, sole, bass… with sophisticated preparations such as morel monkfish blanquette with morels

Cheese Platter

A huge cheese platter with many different kinds of cheese is a must have, neatly arranged and served with various breads. Some cheeses also have festive presentations such as truffle camembert which is to die for!

Bûche de Noël Yule Log Cake

Bûche de Noël is definitely the one and only Christmas dessert. Traditionally shaped to represent the real wood log placed in the fireplace on Christmas eve, bûche is often made of garnished swiss roll topped with buttercream or ganache and decorated with tiny figurines. Entremets or ice cream logs are getting more and more popular among pastry addicts and chocolate or chestnut are no longer the only beloved flavors. I tell you here where this tradition comes from.

Exotic and candied fruits

Although it’s common to find exotic fruits all year long nowadays, It’s been a habit (and so refreshing when you eat all the above!) to have litchi, clementine, passion fruit, mango… at the end of the meal. And by extension dried fruits such as dates (sometimes stuffed with almond paste) or candied fruits.

Chocolate Truffles

It’s difficult here to choose among all the tiny bite size Christmas cookies, bredele, chocolate and dried fruits mendicants, candied orange and black chocolate orangettes, candied chestnuts… As Christmas is synonymous to chocolate, the ultimate greed is chocolate truffles, made of black chocolate ganache coated with cacao. Who can resist to this?

Champagne

This is not a dish but is actually something you definitely have to serve for a classic French Christmas eve dinner. You may want to pour in crème de cassis blackcurrant liquor to make a kir royal. But if Champagne is good, there’s no need!