As the holiday’s approach and the grey winter days set the backdrop for the months to come, Parisians seek comfort in the decadent pleasures their city has to offer. In December, everything is permis as end of the year parties and merry making provide ample opportunities to indulge in gourmet pleasures. Champagne, oysters, cheese, and chocolate are some staples of the season’s feasts in France and there’s no better place to source such lavish treats as Paris.
Seafood is the ubiquitous French apéro during the holiday season. Oyster vendors set up corner stands that spot Paris neighborhoods as soon as the city’s Christmas lights go up and its hard to resist taking a dozen fines de claire home with you. If you don’t want to be bothered with shucking your own oysters, have a classy night out at one of the city’s many seafood specialty addresses.
La Coupole is a Paris dining institution where classic service and cuisine come together to make a memorable Parisian soirée. Seafood platters (29-178 euro) are served in silver bowls heaped with ice and adorned with oysters on the half shell, crab, shrimp, langoustines, whelks, among other fresh shellfish. If you’re looking for a more laid back midweek seafood snack, head to La P’tite Soeur, which hosts a weekly Seafood Apéro every Wednesday night in December. Another great option for platters of high-quality shellfish, paired with the best Negroni in town, is Le Mary Celeste which has been an oyster go to since it opened in 2013.
Champagne and crisp white wines are classic for pairing with seafood or other holiday entrées. Luckily there are a few events during December in Paris that will help you stock up your wine cellar for the fêtes. Head to the Independent Winemakers Salon (November 29 to December 2) to meet winemakers and find the right wines to go with your holiday meals. Vini de Vignaioli, an Italian winemaker and artisan fair which takes place on December 2 and 3 is also a great opportunity to discover beautiful Italian wines as well as other artisanal products from the country.
If you’re interested in trying out a less traditional pairing with your guests, check out the cheese and alcohol pairing series hosted by specialty food and alcohol shop Julhès, which includes an Armagnac and Gruyère pairing, and takes place from December 4 to 31. Julhès will also be hosting a Champagne Day of tastings and featured producers on December 8.
As kids get giddy over advent calendars and the daily promise of chocolate, adults in Paris can embrace their inner child by visiting (and sampling from) the city’s best chocolate boutiques. Alain Ducasse’s seasonal chocolates- from intricate Easter eggs to simple chocolate Christmas stars- can be admired in his many points of sale across the city. Probably the most fun spot to take in his cocoa creations is La Manufacture– where the magic happens and the smell of fresh chocolate will immediately put you into the holiday spirit.
This year La Maison du Chocolat offers a holiday chocolate fix with its “Christmas Dream” series of gift boxes and creations that will delight and make a chocoholics dreams come true. No holiday season would be complete in France without a Bûche de Noël, which you can find in famed Paris pastry shops such as La Durée, Angelina, and A la Mère de Famille.
To continue with your Decadent December in Paris, be sure to stop in for our Buche de Noel Class on the 19th and 22nd of December! Register soon as you do not want your spot to sell out! This class is definitely a treat not to be missed!
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