Le réveillon and Bûches de Noël – France

Although the number gets smaller every year, some French people attend Midnight Mass on the night of Christmas Eve – December 24. When they get home – in the middle of the night! – they gather with their families for a big meal called le réveillon. This name comes from the French word réveil, which means “waking”. This is because participating in the feast involves staying awake not only until midnight, for the Mass, but into the small hours of the morning, for the meal.  They usually eat oysters, snails, seafood, smoked salmon, or caviar as a starter.  As the main course, people eat a roasted bird: this is normally goose. For dessert, each family has its own tradition, but  a Bûche de Noël (like a Yule Log) is commonly eaten. People try and make these look as log-like as possible,with chocolate buttercream textured to look like bark. The bûche is then decorated with powder sugar resembling snow, berries, leaves and moss, which are often made out of a meringue-like mixture.

    

 

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