Bonjour from Paris and welcome to Day 12 of the 2013 VirtualAdvent Tour! A big thank you to hosts Kelly and Marg for including me in the event.
Since I just started my blog this year, I'm new to the tour. So with all of the possibilities, how can I choose what to write about? I decided to go with the first thing that came to mind. Something typically French: Food!
Paris is a foodie kind of place that gets even foodier around the holidays. For some expats, that can mean delicious adventures -- and for others it can mean a culture shock. For me, it was at first a bit of both!
I should probably start by telling you about my first French Christmas. It began on Christmas Eve with an overdose of nuts and aperitif snacks. It was either that or eat the oysters, escargots and foie gras. My boyfriend's family served not one of these traditional appetizers, but all three! And one by one, so that there was time to enjoy each. Sigh…
I savored each hazelnut and waited patiently until around 11 p.m. when out came the turkey. Whew! Maybe I would enjoy this meal after all… Indeed, the massive cheese platter to follow and traditional Yule log for dessert made up for the initial frustration. The feast, which continued until about 3 a.m., resumed the next afternoon with another full meal.
So now, after several years in France, how have we (boyfriend-turned-husband and me) managed to balance the French tradition with my Italian-American one?
We decided to compromise. We kept the foie gras and replaced the oysters and escargots by a warm appetizer of fish (my Italian heritage of fish on Christmas Eve). A main course of ham (but in a puff-pastry crust to add that French touch). We finish off our meal French style with a cheese tray and the Yule Log.
By combining our traditions, both of us have made discoveries and acquired new tastes: I've added Jerusalem artichokes to my repertoire, while my husband has grown to love sweet potatoes.
I've even become a bit more daring when it comes to food. OK, so I still won't eat oysters, escargots or foie gras, but I did try frog legs. And they do kind of taste like chicken.
Here's a look at a few of our past Yule logs, our traditional ham and a brioche with confit fruit that is popular at this time of year...
(Please visit the blog of the other participant in the Advent Tour today, Grace Elliot at http://graceelliot-author.blogspot.com/)