French Christmas Eve Gros Souper Menu

Christmas Eve in Provence

Gros Souper is the traditional Provencal family meal held before midnight mass on Christmas Eve. The seven meatless courses are meant to symbolise Mary’s labor pains. The dishes are to be prepared ahead of time or made with a minimum of effort on Christmas Eve, so the family can relax and spend time together. As more families adopt modern customs, the classic Grrs Souper menu changes. These recipes are a mix of both the old and new. Bon Appetit and Joyeux Noel!

In other parts of France, Christmas...MORE Eve is generally known as the Reveillon and the dinner on this night would be significantly different to the one here and would most certainly include meat. 

  • 01 of 07
    brandade
    Brandade. Laurence Mouton - Getty Images
    Salt cod is a large part of the light Christmas Eve dinner. Sometimes is it served plain, but most often it is offered up as part of a light dish like brandade canapes or served alone with simple accompaniments, like bread and vegetables.
  • 02 of 07

    White Bean Puree Recipe

    white bean puree
    White Bean Puree. Michael Powell - Getty Images

    White bean puree is a wonderful dish to serve with raw vegetables on Christmas Eve. It takes less than five minutes to prepare and the herbes de Provence accent the silky white beans with understated elegance. Use as a dip with fresh vegetable pieces. 

  • 03 of 07
    marinated olives
    Marinated Olives. Crystal Cartier Getty Images

    This is the ultimate make-ahead dish, perfect for Christmas Eve! The brilliance of making your own marinated olives is that you alone ​can customise the flavor of the dish. Take out an ingredient here and add one there… you have your own special blend!

  • 04 of 07

    Chestnut Soup with Creme Fraiche Recipe

    chestnut soup
    Chestnut Soup. Philippe Desnerck Getty Images

    Most Gros Souper menus include a light vegetable soup, usually made from a light broth or vegetable puree. Here, we’ve livened it up a bit by including a creative, yet very fitting, chestnut soup enriched with cream.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07
    Casserole pan containing vegetable ratatouille
    Ratatouille. Philip Wilkins / Getty Images
    This traditional vegetable stew originated as a poor man’s dish in Nice. This version lightly caramelizes the onions and peppers before adding them to the rest of the dish, giving it a fantastic complex flavor without much additional effort. It is a perfect addition to the holiday table.
  • 06 of 07
    halibut provencal
    Halibut Provencal. Bill Arce Getty Images
    Braised halibut is an easy dish that features the bright flavors of Provence: garlic, shallots, fennel, tomatoes, olives, and fresh sage. Serve it, along with a healthy serving of the pan sauce, over couscous or rice.
  • 07 of 07
    Cauliflower gratin with cheese, close-up
    Howard Shooter / Getty Images
    Creamy and comforting, this cauliflower gratin recipe features a classic Béchamel sauce punched up by just a little bit of fresh thyme. This gratin is a classic at Provencal tables, and is often served for the traditional meatless Christmas Eve dinner, gros souper.