From the Loire to Alsace, we visit two unique and fascinating winemakers to see how they celebrate Christmas. Christine Laloue of Domaine Serge Laloue tells us about treasured family traditions and Jerome Mader of Vins Mader shares some Alsacien culture and history. His story of the community coming together to share Bredele sounds like a charming and rustic version of Jacob’s USA Biscuits!
“When we were young, we used to organize a little show with all the cousins in our grand-parents Laloue café. It was not very “professional” as we did not have a lot of time to rehearse. But it was a fun family experience.
At Christmas, we usually eat oysters with Sancerre Silex, Capon with mashed potatoes and Yule log made by my niece and my daughter.”
Christine Laloue, Domaine Serge Laloue
“Like everywhere in France, we like to eat Foie gras and snails, but this is not typically Alsacien. The two things that are very typical is our famous Bredele and the Herring. Bredele is the name for various Christmas biscuits. Traditionally, each Alsacien family spends one or two days cooking different kinds of Bredele in December, before the Christmas celebration. Then we share it with our friends and neighbours, and they share their Bredele with us. There is about 50 different kind of biscuit, and each cook makes it differently. So that you never eat two times the same biscuit! We eat those biscuits at the end of each dinner, and of course, we pair it with a glass of Gewurztraminer!
We also traditionally eat smoked or salted Herring before Christmas. This comes from the old times. A few centuries ago, wines used to be shipped through the Rhine River to Northern countries like Denmark, Holland, Sweden. Generally, wines were shipped just before the new harvest (generally in October), and once the boat were unloaded in one of those Northern countries, they were loaded with Herring, and that is why the Herring come in Alsace in November or December. There are many recipes to cook herring, but we always pair it with Riesling!”
Jerome Mader, Vins Mader