The thirteen desserts (Occitan: lei tretze dessèrts) 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. The food traditionally is set out Christmas Eve and remains on the table three days until December 27.
Dried fruit and nuts
- Raisins (Dominicans)
- Walnuts or hazelnuts (Augustinians)
- Dried figs (Franciscans)
- Almonds (Carmelites)
- Dates, representing the foods of the region where Christ lived and died
- Dried plums from Brignoles
- Winter melon
- Biscotins (biscuits) from Aix;
- Calissons d'Aix, a marzipan-like candy made from almond paste and candied melon.
- Candied citron
- Casse-dents of Allauch (biscuit)
- Cumin and fennel seed biscuits
- Fried bugnes
- Fruit tourtes
- Oreillettes, light thin waffles
- Pain d'epices
- Pompes à l'huile or fougasse à l'huile d'olive, a sweet cake or brioche made with orange flower water and olive oil
- Quince cheese/quince paste (Pâte de coing)
- Yule log
- Two kinds of nougat, symbolizing good and evil
French wedding foodways
Bayle St. John, writing in The Purple Tints of Paris (vol. 2) "The dishes are substantial; soup, boiled beef, veal, salad, cheese, apples, and what are called, for some mysterious reason, the four beggars — nuts, figs, almonds, and raisins, mixed together."
- "The Thirteen Desserts of Christmas - Les Treize Desser". Mama Lisa's World of Children and International Culture.
- "Christmas Traditions in Provence". www.provenceweb.fr.
- "The Thirteen Christmas Desserts". www2.culture.gouv.fr.
- "Aroma Tours of Spain, Provence, Tuscany, Italy and Bali". aroma-tours.com.
- "Provençal Desserts | Avignon et Provence". www.avignon-et-provence.com.
- about.com, Noël in Provence Christmas traditions and recipes from Provence. Retrieved Aug. 30, 2007.
Media related to Treize desserts de Provence at Wikimedia Commons
- The 13 desserts of Provence - by Notreprovence.fr (in English)