Nov 30, 2021

Christmas in Bordeaux: Traditional and unexpected festive matches !

In Bordeaux, Christmas gastronomy starts on Christmas Eve. Revellers return from midnight mass to a platter of oysters, fresh from the nearby Atlantic Ocean, served with a dry white Entre deux Mers. Even the name rings true, Entre deux Mers means between two seas – a reference to the vineyards between the Garonne and the Dordogne rivers

A  Bordeaux traditional Christmas menu is an once in a lifetime experience to have! Discover here the typical French South West dishes for Christmas Eve and Day.

Christmas Eve

A sparkling Crémant de Bordeaux from Le Cloitre des Cordeliers would make the evening even more festive. The Bordelais serve their oysters with a ‘crepinette’, a little flat sausage, often stuffed with truffles. This dish is usually served with a more powerful dry white from Pessac Léognan. Château Latour Martillac blanc is fermented and aged on the lees in French oak barrels. It gives it the perfect personality to match the truffle flavours and fresh enough for the oysters. To surprise your guests, you could even serve a sweet white Bordeaux, such as a young Sauternes from Château Guiraud. It’s a surprising but successful match.

Christmas Lunch

For Christmas Lunch in Bordeaux the traditional dish is a poultry, a turkey or a capon. The poultry is stuffed with sausage meat and cepe mushrooms or perhaps chestnuts. Roasted poultry is a traditional match for sweet Bordeaux, the caramelised roasted juices complementing the spicey, caramel notes of the wine making it a festive treat. If you are serving roasted earthy vegetables like carrots and parsnips in a rich cranberry gravy, a fine Cabernet dominated red blend from the left bank, would be delicious. Try a Chateau Lagrange from Saint Julien.
Taichi Sato, the Japanese chef at Château Lagrange, has a more original suggestion for ambitious or experimental chefs, a Foie gras marinated in honey from the property, cooked in beeswax and served with Cabernet Sauvignon jelly and a Château Lagrange 2009.

Christmas Bordeaux wine

Château Lagrange


Christmas Dessert

To conclude such a feast, Christmas dessert has to be a Buche de Noel, a chocolate extravaganza, try serving it with a red wine, a Merlot driven wine from Chateau George 7 in Fronsac or traditionalists might prefer a glass of sparkling Crémant. If you need inspiration for the Christmas left overs on Boxing day, Sally Evans of Château George7 has a great recipe for red onion marmalade on her website. Made with her Merlot wine straight from the barrel,  it goes perfectly with cold turkey, ham and cheese.

Not strictly Christmas, but another seasonal sweet treat is La Galette des Rois. Served for Epiphany or ‘La Fête des Rois. There is a ‘Feve’ (originally a bean but now usually a porcelain memento) hidden in the marzipan stuffing between two layers of buttery pastry. The youngest member of the family hides underneath the table and calls out the guests’ names one by one. The ‘king’ or ‘queen’ of the day is the one who gets the feve, wears the gold paper crown and is, of course, toasted with Crémant de Bordeaux.

Happy holidays!

[By Wendy Narby]

Cover photo credits : Bordeaux Wines