THE THIRTEEN TRADITIONAL
DESSERTS OF PROVENCE
In an old custom that has its origins in the farming region of France and dates back a couple of centuries, families served a different dessert on each of the twelve nights of Christmas. The 13 desserts harken back to market days when farmers would buy and sell produce that always included a bakers dozen instead of twelve.
During the holidays, this tradition is part of the custom of L’Auberge Provençale. We offer these desserts in our sitting room to all of our guests, whether in the afternoon, or after a sumptuous holiday feast.
The desserts included fresh and dried fruits, nuts, cakes, and confections. In Provence, most of the ingredients were locally grown and plentiful.
Raisins, dry figs, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pears, apples, plums, Orliettes (lemon and orange with orange blossom water fried pastry), Fougasse (poppy seed and lemon Brioche), Nougat Blanc et Noir, Calissons D’Aix (Almond Paste with Pistachios) and 12th night Cake make up all 12 of them.
All should be served with Buche de Noel. Although the rich and extravagant Buche de Noël was not probably added to the custom, until late in the 19th century.
Winey and Cheesy are pretty excited about getting these desserts going. However, the first step. is making the Vin D’Orange that will go with these desserts. As it takes about a month to prepare, they figure they better get started. Cheesy loves to share this job with all his wine lovers, and we love to share the following recipe with you. Give it a try, and bring a splash of Provence to your holiday season. We will be leaking a few other holiday recipes to our fans as well! The Shenandoah Valley will become the inn place to be for the holidays.
All should be served with Buche de Noel, in small bowls and platters around the centerpiece yule log.
1 Bitter or Seville Orange
1/2 Sweet Orange
1 quart of Rose or White Wine
5 TBSP Armagnac
1/2 Lb. Sugar
5 TBSP Sparkling Water
Use only the skins of the Oranges. Mix all ingredients together, place in a glass jar, cover and let stand in a cool dark place for 1 month. When ready, filter, chill and serve with the Thirteen Desserts of Provence.