SHE SAYS: Winter holidays! Yeah! A friend asked me the other day what my preferred winter holiday is and I must confess, I love them all and I probably embrace them all because I want to be able to say “Yes!” to every party… lol. Hanukkah? Great! Winter Solstice? Sure! Christmas? Always! Kwanzaa? I wanza!
For our Christmas Breakfast this year I chose to create a French Christmas Breakfast and it was a perfect breakfast. Beautiful, tasty, super-simple and so much fun. We are sharing the details so maybe you can recreate it for your New Year’s Brunch or any special Sunday brunch which might be fun with a French perspective. Croissants, quiche, a copy of French newspaper Le Monde, French radio from iTunes, photos of Christmas in Paris and you’ll have a magical morning!
HE SAYS: Now, you know SHE doesn’t cook, right? Her skills are cutting, placing, setting the table, and setting the mood. If SHE’s in charge, it’s going to be super-simple. No recipes here, just stuff to buy in advance and set out the morning of your French Holiday Breakfast. But take a look - beautiful.
SHE SAYS: Correct. A trip to one or two stores and you should be ready to go!
Here are the details in a grocery store style list:
An assortment of French cheeses (We chose four that were new to us. May we suggest you try something new!)
French style salami – (salami soaked in wine)
Dried Apricots (or dried cranberries or both!)
Fresh cut fruit salad (we chose citrus, pineapple and blueberries)
Croissants (of couse!)
Baguette (partially baked – you finish baking it the morning of your breakfast)
Madelaines (savory Madelaines made with rosemary, but you can serve any type)
Nonettes (Small orange flavored sponge cakes wtith a spot of orange preserves inside)
La Barquette (small cookies with dried apricot filling)
French Roast Coffee – (your favorite coffee brand is fine)
Quiche (pre-made from your favorite grocer) – just reheat the morning of your breakfast
Quince Paste (brought by a guest)
Chocolate gold coins sprinkled on the table – very fun!
Champagne or sparkling wine
If you have French food favorites that are different, like caviar and fois gras then add those. We simply wanted a focus on cheese. (HE says: Cheeses for Jesus! – and SHE can only laugh.)
A few props and music to set the mood:
French Radio – Free on iTunes – Real French holiday music! We tuned into Paris Chansons.
Le Monde – the French newspaper on the coffee table (1 day pre-order from a hotel or news stand)
Assortment of “Christmas in Paris” photos slide show playing on the big screen TV, via the laptop.
A few “fussy pillows” and Votive candles and remember at least one good picture of Papa Noel!
FIRST COURSE: Our cheese course. A quick trip to a specialty cheese store and we found four new-to-us French
cheeses. Animals represented – cow, goat, sheep – all three made a gift. An assorment of soft, hard and semi-hard make nice options for everyone. We found ours at The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills, but you can also find a world of cheeses right at Trader Joe’s or your local Whole Foods Market along with intelligent foodies working behind the counter to help you taste and choose wisely. Details on our cheese choices here: Barrysentials Cheeses for Jesus.
Label the cheeses with little tent cards you can cut out at home, and write out a few words of your own impressions of the taste of the cheese to enlighten your guests before they choose. Place your thinly sliced French style salami on the corners of your cheese platter (we used a piece of slate), put your cheeses in the middle and sprinkle dried apricots around it all. You’ll want to set your cheese & salami out approximately 1 hour before your guests arrive. These cheeses and salami will taste best at room temperature.
NEXT: The forbidden white flour bakery products which you’ll add to your table for one day of guilt-free eating. Croissants, French baguette, La Barouquette cookies, Madelaines and Nonettes. Croissants purchased at the grocer’s bakery – re-heat in the oven, when you remove from the oven, place in a basket and cover with clean kitchen towel so they stay warm. Partially baked baguette – heat at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven then cut the bread into slices on an angle, place in a basket and again cover so it stays warm on the table. La Barouquette’s and Nonettes – purchased at a nearby French Market – just take them out of the box and set on small plates and set them at various places on the table. Our Madelaines came freshly baked from one of our guests – if you don’t have a baking guest, you can purchase them at many grocery stores and bakeries.
Fruit Salad: Ours was super-simple. Pineapple pieces, orange sections (cut by HE) and blueberries. I poured a teaspoon of sparkling wine on mine for fun, but everyone else ate theirs plain. Another combination of citrus (pink grapefruit, white grapefruit, naval oranges, mandarin oranges) can also make a perfect holiday fruit course. Toss in a few maraschino cherries or dried cranberries for splash of color.
Quiche: Make it easy on yourself, darlin’, you have way better things to do than spend hours in the kitchen. Just purchase a quiche from your favorite breakfast restaurant, or your favorite grocer and re-heat it at home, then set on the table. You’ll look brilliant. Your friends aren’t coming over to check out your cooking – they’re coming over to see you, laugh with you and have a good time as you prepare for a new year.
Champagne or Sparkling Wine: Dom Perignon is always nice for New Year’s, yes it is, and Veuve Cliquot is a fantastic second, but for this casual French breakfast we chose French sparkling wine Trocadero. In addition, a guest brought a fantastic surprise French sparkling wine Charles LaFitte Rose Prestige – yes it’s pink! Inside the bottle and outside the bottle on the label. Nice! Read a little more information on these two sparkling wines on this blog post.
There you have it! If you plan your own French holiday breakfast, please post some pictures! We wish you blessed holidays, Bonne année and Happy New Year!