Seasonal products : December

Truffes (c) Pierre LANNES CC BY-SA 2.0

Menu de réveillon (c) Africa Studio shutterstock

New Year’s Eve menu (c) Africa Studio shutterstock

Tenth month says its name from Latin and like all the others, it has kept the imprint of the Roman occupation. Romulus gave it thirty days, the emperor Numa twenty-nine and Julius Caesar thirty-one.

The days became short and the nights very cold. The vegetable garden is frozen, poor in exceptional vegetables. No doubt, carrots , turnips , and other turnips , also grow under the sand in shelters. Jerusalem artichokes , crosnes or cardoons can put a little variety in winter menus. pumpkins ripen in warehouses. Succulent, they deserve soups and gratins. The whole cabbage family

is now available…

Before the big festivities, we want simple menus.

This is the moment when in every small family farm is killed “Mr. Pig”, when it has not already been done in November. It is true that this farm animal, so delicious compared to those from factory farms, is well done, plump and fat, and that Saint Anthony, its protector, is not always there to defend it. Feet, sausages, blood sausages, bacon, hams, ribs and sausages, “In the pig everything is good” as the popular song says!

The more December advances, the more the gastronomy awakens.

Turkeys , capons , poulards , marvels coming from Bresse, guaranteed by their controlled appellations of origin or by their farm red labels for the more reasonable purses, are very tempting, ribboned at will.

At the shucking stall, the eye is also seduced : oysters fat oysters, sea urchins spicy, varied shells, slipped into their algae nest ! So many donkeys offered to the temptation of the gourmet! The Breton lobsters are absent. It’s not the season yet! Fortunately, their American or Canadian cousins are there to replace them. Very abundant over there, they are shipped in large numbers, graded in lobster portions, especially for New Year’s Eve.

The salad of the month is the lamb’s lettuce, to be delicately seasoned at the last minute, so as not to wither. Endive is in season, very good with walnuts , apples , crumbs of Roquefort … Vacherins are more unctuous than ever. Smoked salmon and foie gras abound.

Saumon fumé - Barthouil Smoked Salmon – Barthouil

In a fruitless season, the

citrus fruits are at their peak. Why not try a change from the traditional chocolate log, a fresh lemon charlotte, escorted by an orange salad.
Christmas Markets

markets compete for inventive gourmet suggestions and decorations that make young and old dream.

  • : It is with endive the typical winter salad. Why not to accommodate it with a lemon sauce, put at the last moment on the leaves? : It is not necessary to be Provençal to appreciate the gratin of cardoons with marrow. These fleshy ribs have a slight taste of artichoke. This is not surprising since they are botanically descended from the evolution of the same thistle, with such a beautiful blue flower, still growing spontaneously around the Mediterranean.

  • : Apart from the lamb’s lettuce and endive mentioned above, whose cultivation methods require neither full soil nor sun, the fresh green salads have turned into pale winter salads. Without any real gastronomic interest, they can be forgotten.
  • : Of course, you can still find them in profusion on the stalls. But the winter varieties are less interesting than the previous ones. They are still suitable for soups or stews, but beware of large specimens: They may have a woody heart.

:

: In the orchard

:

    :

  • : : The most interesting varieties at the moment, very good to cook, are the beautiful de Boskoop, the granny smith, and above all, the incomparable Canadian grey reinette.

Pommes Canada

Apples Canada

  • Side pears : We continue to find excellent conferences and buttered-hardy.
  • : Oranges, clementines, pomelos, are there in abundance.
    : Exotic fruits
  • : There are many regions where it is not winter at the moment. For example, in December, there is a multitude of exotic fruits. Physalis, mangoes, persimmons …

  • : The kiwi : Full season of the French kiwi.
  • : The pears
  • : Picked at the beginning of November, the passe-crassane closes the ban on the great variety of French pears. It is put on sale towards the end of December, but its real maturity begins in January.

: Products leaving :

  • : The optimal season of the buttered-Hardy is over. It is now better to avoid them. Just like the williams, still present on the stalls but which have now known too many months in storage. : The grape
  • : The most beautiful bunches, the only ones likely to keep as long after picking are offered to the greedy of the most fortunate. Their price reflects their rarity.


: The oyster

    : It is perfect at the moment and the proximity of the holidays allows an exceptional choice of varieties and calibers.

  • Bouquet : It is excellent and abundant. It’s really time to enjoy it.
  • : After oysters and prawns, it seems less interesting.


  • Clam (c) Majolie 46 CC BY-SA 2.0
Palourdes (c) Majolie 46 CC BY-SA 2.0

Saint-Jacques

: Its quality cannot be questioned in this month. But its price is the highest of the year.

    Whiting

  • : Before the holidays, it will be very well suited to make a light, economical and dietetic meal. Its great fishing season starts in December and lasts until March.
    Red mullet
  • : It is always so abundant in December that its price adjusts to the lowest level of the year.

  • The sea bream
  • : The fry is always there. But we can also find royal sea bream, with incomparable flesh. Choose it as big as possible. It will only be better.

  • : : December is really not the best month for salmon. It’s smoked that you find it everywhere on the stalls. Look at the labels and avoid bright orange salmon.
  • The products that arrive:
  • Lobster

  • : It’s not delicious little Breton that we’re talking about – it’s already gone to hibernate in the great depths of the Atlantic – but American or Canadian lobster, with a shell of a different color (the midnight blue is replaced by a sort of orangey green-brown).

  • Lobster : The exquisite pink lobster known as “of Brittany”, even though it is fished in Ireland in December becomes so rare that it is mentioned only as a reminder. Is it worth its extravagant December price or not? This is another story! : It is a winter fish (even if it is very much in demand in summer). Abundant fishing in December in anticipation of the holidays. But very high price.
  • : The herring
  • : This is its last month of excellence. When he has laid his eggs, he will become sad and thin. Instead of being “bouvard”, it will be a “guai” herring, which means in fish language, emptied of its gogues and milt supposed to give it more flavor and a fatter and fleshier consistency.


    Herrings (c) Boerninaturen


  • At the butcher’s or the poulterer’s

Harengs (c) Boerninaturen

The

turkey

: the AOC of Bresse is incomparable but its price, always very high, reflects the exceptional care of its breeding. The wealthy gastronome will find an immense pleasure in it.


The

    poularde

  • : It is a chicken, virgin of any contact with the rooster and having never laid eggs, which one let yield to his natural gluttony. In the case of a Bresse poultry, under AOC, the result is commensurate with the efforts undertaken.

The products that arrive :

  • The goose : Less known than the turkey for end of year feasts, this bird, direct descendant of the migratory birds so beautifully illustrated by the adventures of little Nils Holgersson, has a succulent and original flesh. It disappears little by little because its price has not kept up with its exceptional breeding conditions: fed only on grains and frolicking in an extensive outdoor environment that corresponds to its need for wild life, here is a poultry that the gourmet will regret when it is gone.


Chez le crémier :

  • Le Mont d’Or : This soft cheese is at its apotheosis in December. It is so creamy that its spruce rim is more useful than ever to hold its paste. Present it in the box, simply by removing its top skin.
  • : It is a cheese at its best in terms of flavor and texture (fat and creamy as one pleases) during the winter months.


  • : In the woods :

: The

truffle

: This mushroom which matures underground, starts to be harvested in December. It will be even better in January and February but why wait: its black slices are so good slipped under the skin of December poultry.


    Truffles (c) Pierre LANNES CC BY-SA 2. 0


  • Click here to discover
  • all my seasonal recipes and there to discover

all my holiday recipes.

Truffes (c) Pierre LANNES CC BY-SA 2.0

For further information on the products, I recommend the book from which this information is taken: L’almanach du gastronome.

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