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Merry Christmas from France newsletter…

Rows and rows of little yule log cakes in a French bakery


I hope that you and yours are well.

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas where I am. The Mayor of our little village has turned the lights on outside the town hall and three little trees now twinkle at dusk. Madame Bernadette has put up a life size plastic inflatable Santa Claus (when I say life-size you know what I mean, I haven’t actually met him in real life). It hangs from the gutter of her farmhouse roof, swinging about when it’s windy, seeming to wave to all who pass by. Bread Man is sporting a Father Christmas hat instead of his usual beret. Jean-Claude, known to all in these parts as Monsieur Partout, Mr Everywhere, because wherever you go, he seems to pop up, has been working on his buche de Noel skills. According to his wife, he has made a rather exotic mango and raspberry concoction this year with a sweet Chantilly cream filling. People in these parts talk about recipes like the rest of us talk about the weather.

“Did you see that Chef So and So has created a new Madeleine flavour? It was in the such and such magazine…”

Then there is a discussion about whether said 3 Michelin Star chef might have been better to use this ingredient or that. And they are serious. Everyone is a gourmand in France it seems.

There are thousands of French food blogs. I once read that two cookery books are published in France every day. Recipes are passed down through generations and the food prepared with love and reverence.

Food is life here. If we’re not talking about food, we’re shopping for it, planning to cook it or eating it. And it pops up in every day conversation even when we’re not talking about food. Making a fuss for instance is “en faire tout en fromage” (literally to make a whole cheese out of it). Very confusing if you’re shopping for cheese, can’t find what you want and sulk then your French friend says don’t make a fuss (in French).

At Christmas the preparation of food moves to another level still. And though we are not able to mingle and mix as normal, everyone is sharing recipes by email, and posting photos of their buches de Noel and gingerbread loaves and cocktails online. There is an old saying that “cooking is love made visible”…

With that in mind, this week’s newsletter is stuffed with foodie things, which I hope you enjoy…

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and best wishes for a happier 2021, happy holidays, peace and joy,

Bisous from my little pigsty, and I’ll be back in two weeks time,

Join me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for fun daily updates from France…

And if you like the look of those buches de Noel cakes in the top photo, here’s the recipe: Buche de Noel cake

Finally – our holiday in southern France prize draw will take place soon. Enter the draw Win a Holiday in France…

Janine Marsh is Author of My Good Life in France: In Pursuit of the Rural Dream – ebook, print & audio, on Amazon everywhere & all good bookshops online, and My Four Seasons in France: A Year of the Good Life

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