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For those of you who haven’t heard of it, reveillon is a traditionally French celebration on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve. Like many other things, I first fell in love with this idea from a story in an old issue of Gourmet magazine.

New Orleans, as is their way, has fully embraced this tradition with very lavish banquet menus as part of their holiday festivities. But you don’t have to work that hard. In Provence, 13 “desserts” can also be part of the tradition. These include:

Hazelnuts or walnuts
Dried figs
Almonds
Raisins
Dates (which can be stuffed with almond paste)
Olive oil bread made with orange flower water
White nougat (pistachio)
Black nougat (honey)
The Calisson d’Aix (specialty)
Quince jelly or jam
White grapes
Melon
Oranges
Candied melon (or other candied fruit)
Apples or pears
Clementines
Plums
Milk cake
Almond cake
Fresh cheese

I think this approach is a great way to pamper guests who are coming off the Thanksgiving and December holidays. Just adapt it as a wine tasting or champagne bar and voila – instant New Year’s Eve party!

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Plus it’s a great excuse to hit the specialty food shops yet again. So over the next few days you’ll have time to assemble a lovely assortment of cheeses, nuts and fruit. On Saturday I’ll put up a post for crackers, shine the glassware on Sunday and you’ll be ready to ring in the New Year – reveillon style!

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