Best season to travel to Provence & French Riviera

The Thirteen Christmas Desserts

The sweetest Provençal tradition—lei tretze dessèrts

Best time: December 24–December 25

The Thirteen Christmas Desserts

One of the best and sweetest gastronomic Christmas traditions in the world is the provençal Thirteen Desserts that symbolize Christ and his 12 disciples. Traditionally it is served after the Midnight Mass and consists of four base ingredients that commemorate the four Catholic religious orders that took vows of poverty: walnuts and hazelnuts for the Augustinians, dried figs for the Franciscans, almonds for the Carmelites, and raisins for the Dominicans. The desserts can vary from town to town with an emphasis on the local products, but usually they consist of pompe a l’huile, sweet bread, black and white provençal nougat, apples and pears, prunes, green melon, oranges (a sign of wealth), mandarins and clementines, Christmas melon, white grapes, candied fruit—a very important and beautiful part of the desserts, chocolate truffles, quince ja​m, bugnes (merveilles, oreillettes), fritters, little orange blossom infused doughnuts, milk shortbread, almond cake and dates stuffed with almond paste. If you think this sounds delicious, imagine how it actually tastes!

Find hotels and airbnbs near The Thirteen Christmas Desserts (Map)

Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin