Thirteen desserts

Thirteen desserts

The thirteen desserts are the traditional dessert foods used in celebrating Christmas in the French region of Provence. The "big supper" ("le gros souper") ends with a ritual 13 desserts, representing Jesus Christ and the 12 apostles. The desserts always number thirteen but the exact items vary by local or familial tradition. [ Mama Lisa's World Blog] ] The food traditionally is set out Christmas Eve and remains on the table three days until December 27. [ Christmas traditions in Provence] ]

Dried fruit and nuts

The first four of these are known as the "four beggars" ("les quatre mediants"), representing the four mendicant monastic orders: Dominicans, Franciscans, Augustinian and Carmelites. [ The Thirteen Christmas desserts] ]
* Raisins (Dominicans)
* Walnuts or hazelnuts [ [ Travel Provence: The Thirteen Desserts] ] (Augustines)
* Dried figs (Franciscans)
* Almonds (Carmelites)
* Dates, representing the foods of the region where Christ lived and died
* Dried plums from Brignoles

Fresh fruit

* Apples
* Pears
* Oranges
* Winter melon
* Grapes
* Tangerines


* Biscotins (cookies) from Aix;
* Calissons d'Aix, almond-paste pastry with sugar icing (marzipan)
* Candied citron
* Casse-dents of Allauch (biscuit)
* Cumin and fennel seed cookies
* Fried bugnes
* Fruit tourtes
* "Oreillettes", light thin waffles
* Pain d'epice
* "Pompes à l'huiles" or "fougasse à l'huile d'olive", a sweet cake or brioche made with orange flower water and olive oil [ Thirteen Desserts] ]
* Quince cheese/quince paste ("Pâte de coing") [, Noël in Provence Christmas traditions and recipes from Provence. Retrieved Aug. 30, 2007.] ]
* Yule log

* Two kinds of nougat, symbolizing good and evil
** Black nougat with honey ("Nougat noir au miel"), a hard candy made with honey and almonds
** White nougat ("Nougat blanc"), a soft candy made with sugar, eggs, pistachios, honey, and almonds


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