Christmas in Avignon

Going to Avignon earlier this month, made me realised how much unnecessary pressure we put on ourselves in the Anglo-Saxon world. When there,  on several occasions, I mentioned, "Black Friday" just to be met with a look a complete incomprehension.
It was the start of the second week in December and shops had just started displaying their Xmas goods. Les Halles - the largest intra-muros food market- wasn't showing any sign of Christmas yet. 

mur vegetale avignon

One peculiarity of Les Halles in Avignon is its wall, 30m x 11,50m, set up by botanist Patrick Blanc. It has a sophisticated irrigation system, as you can imagine, being in the south of France. Growing vertically is an interesting concept. A Pebble Soup's guest blog post which is still very popular was written about this subject matter, Urban Eden in the Sky
Traders mentioned the Christmas tradition of the 13 desserts, symbol of Christ and the 12 apostles. The 13 desserts traditionally end the "big supper" on Christmas eve before midnight mass. 

Though there are variations, it's often green melon kept safe in straw since harvest, apples, pears, grapes, nuts , figs , oranges, mandarins and nougat. There is jam, "focaccia" and mulled wine too.
Of what I have seen tradition has evolved a little and the fruits are often "confits".
Avignon fruits confits

Another outlet which should not be missed when strolling in the papal city is Aline GĂ©hant's, a chocolatiere with a real talent for soft but strong flavours. Her chocolates infused with star-anise (badiane) or lavender are unique.

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