Tag Archives: French traditions

Bonne Fête des Rois!

Galette des Rois
What happens when you have three kings, a bean and a cake? Well, if you live in France, it means it’s obviously time to celebrate Fête des Rois AKA Three Kings Day or Epiphany Day. More importantly, for me it means that boulangeries across Paris (and France) are selling display upon displays of galette des rois, a buttery, sweet tart filled with frangipane.

Galette des Rois
If you want to know more about galette des rois or the day itself, here are some good posts I’ve read that include some history on Fête des Rois, a backgrounder on what Frenchies do to celebrate , and even recipes:

Le Figaro – the top five galette des rois in Paris (en français)
David Lebovitz – a backgrounder and recipe
Chocolate & Zucchini – a backgrounder
La Fête des Rois Blogspot – history and traditions

I’ve been celebrating the day like a good Francophile by buying une galette des rois three days in a row now (yeah, about losing those holiday kilos…) and will be joining a Fête des Rois party in my building lobby next Sunday. I seriously have the friendliest French neighbors!

Happy Epiphany, everyone!
Fête des Rois

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Happy Holidays From Paris

We celebrated our second Christmas in Paris this year. Although it’s nice to get to spend the holidays in this gorgeous city, I wish we could’ve been surrounded by family back home. You never appreciate how lucky you are to have holiday obligations until there aren’t any obligations to attend! Unfortunately, Rio’s busy period falls around Christmas, so the chances of us spending Christmas back home in 2014 will be slim too. Oh well – maybe we can convince family to visit us for Christmas next year! Hint hint…

Nevertheless, we made the most of the holiday. Although we were supposed to spend Christmas Eve in Chantilly with a French friend, a family emergency resulted in us putting together a last-minute, quiet meal chez nous. This year, we incorporated some traditional French Christmas elements into the meal – smoked salmon, oysters and gougères for apéros, seared scallops, a bûche de Noël, and, of course, a couple bottles of Champagne. For Christmas Day, we were lucky enough to be invited to our friend Stacy and Jason’s apartment for a cozy, casual lunch that included some height-defying rounds of Jenga, mulled orange juice, the most thick and delicious potato soup you’ve ever had, mac & cheese, bacon-covered turkey for the meat-eaters, mashed potatoes & gravy,  freshly-baked bread, and a chocolate and raspberry cake! Even though I had my stretchy pants on, I was so stuffed by the end of the night, I wish I had brought sweatpants to change into! I’m so thankful we got to spend the holiday with some friends, as Christmas is definitely a holiday that’s made even more meaningful when you get to be surrounded by special people in your lives.

So no matter where you live and who you’re with, I hope you’re enjoying the holiday season! From the streets of Paris to our home, here are some festive photos from the past few weeks. Joyeuses fêtes et une bonne année à tous!
Holidays 2013
Holidays via Instagram.



Grands Boulevards
Paris Ornament

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Une Petite Recette: Baked Mont d’Or

Mont d'Or
You know the holiday season has arrived in France once you see kiosks ladling steaming vin chaud into small foam cups, street vendors selling oysters (sizes 2, 3 or 5!) and fromageries showcasing small stacks of Mont d’Or cheese. For some unknown and unacceptable reason, I didn’t get a chance to have any Mont d’Or last holiday season, so as soon as I saw the first containers a few weeks ago, I snatched one up for a Sunday dinner.

Sold between September and May, Mont d’Or is a seasonal cheese made from cow’s milk and produced in France or Switzerland. Ripened in spruce wood, you eat this gooey, buttery cheese fondue-style and pair it with potatoes, veggies or just a good old crusty baguette.

Mont d’Or is probably hard to find outside of Europe, but in case you’re lucky enough to come across it, here’s a simple recipe. And you’ll have to excuse the crappy photos I have here. I took some quickly in the evening and since I had a guest staying with us, I didn’t exactly want to launch a full-on photo shoot in front of him…and because I just kind of wanted to stuff my face with cheese already.

Baked Mont d’Or
1 container of Mont d’Or cheese
1/2 cup of white wine
4 to 5 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
1 sprig of rosemary cut into short lengths
1 baguette and/or potatoes

– Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius).
– Take the plastic wrapping around the Mont d’Or cheese off, and wrap the container securely in aluminum foil. I double-wrapped just in case. Don’t cover the top of the cheese with aluminum foil.
– Using a knife, make several slits in the cheese and insert the garlic slices and rosemary sprigs.
– Pour the white wine over the cheese and bake the cheese on top of a baking sheet for about 30 minutes until it’s bubbling and hot.
– Once the cheese is ready, serve with bread or potatoes. You can take the aluminum foil off…I just didn’t bother to in the below photo.

Mont d’Or Tips
– A small container of Mont d’Or will cost approximately 14 euros.
– When buying Mont d’Or, take a close look at the wooden container to see if there are metal staples and that the container’s not simply glued together. If it’s glued, the heat in the oven will melt it…and you’ll be eating glue and Mont d’Or.
– Be sure to mix the cheese with a spoon a bit before chowing down, as it’ll infuse the flavor of the garlic and rosemary even more.
Baked Mont d'Or Cheese

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Oysters for a Frenchie Holiday Season

I learned from my friend Robin that Frenchies celebrate New Year’s with heavy apps, Champagne and oysters. So when Rio and I were doing a little grocery shopping this weekend and saw a pop-up oyster seller on rue de Lévis, we decided to buy some for Rio to enjoy on Christmas Eve.

Rio Shucking Oyster
Here’s Rio shucking an oyster. Apparently after some googling, he learned he was doing it wrong. Boy was I worried he was going to cut himself!

Bag of Oysters

Champagne and Oysters
Champagne and oyster time!

Joyeuses Fêtes, everyone!

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Happy May Day

Today is Labor Day in France which meant lots of vendors were selling small sprigs of muguet (translation: lilies-of-the-valley) on the street for about a euro. Apparently you’re supposed to give these muguets to people special in your life as a “porte-bonheur” AKA good luck charm. This began back in 1561 when King Charles IX of France received a lily of the valley as a good luck charm… thus a French tradition began.

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