Christmas markets, dinners, and cultural events combine with wine tasting on wine estates across the Provence region
(New York, NY, December 12, 2014) — As the holiday season arrives, the towns and villages of Provence are transformed into sparkling, enchanting places where the centuries-old Christmas traditions are celebrated with passion. Christmas markets, nativity scenes, pastoral figurine displays, and traditional holiday foods are all part of the local festivities—and many of the region’s wineries host holiday events and celebrations of their own.
One of the most popular traditions in Provence, and across France, is the Christmas market, or marché de noël. Christmas markets began centuries ago to supply home cooks with ingredients for holiday dishes. Today’s marchés de noël feature open-air stalls selling local delicacies and handmade gifts and crafts. Musical and dramatic performances are also often part of the scene.
These are a few of the Provence wineries that are hosting their own holiday markets this year:
- Château de Berne in the Côtes de Provence appellation hosts three consecutive weekend markets honoring the holiday traditions of England, Scandinavia, and Provence.
- Château de l’Aumérade, Côtes de Provence, holds a market featuring regional culinary products, handmade gifts, wine tasting, music, and a traditional vineyard lunch.
- Château Font du Broc, Côtes de Provence, hosts a market featuring goods from across the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region (Dec. 13-14).
- Château La Coste, Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, holds a market featuring gourmet foods plus rare and seasonal beverages (Dec. 14). In addition, the winery serves a gourmet dinner featuring the flavors of Christmas (Dec. 19).
A highlight of many Provençal markets is a display of santons, colorful handmade nativity figurines with a rich local history. Château de l’Aumérade is hosting two events to highlight the santon tradition: a conference and a live stage performance. Château de Saint Martin, Côtes de Provence, is hosting a large Provençal holiday dinner (Dec. 13). These three events will be accompanied by a tasting of wine and of the traditional 13 desserts of Provence, which symbolize Jesus and his 12 disciples at the Last Supper. Other wineries, such as Château Sainte Marguerite, Côtes de Provence, are welcoming guests at a holiday open house complete with winery tours (Dec. 13). View a detailed list of holiday events taking place at Provence wineries here: http://provencewineusa.com/resources/Provence_Holiday_Offerings.pdf
All of these events will be perfect occasions for visitors to taste producers’ wines and to discover the wonderful food and wine pairings to be shared on holiday tables.
If you plan to be in southern France during the holiday season, be sure to include winery visits on your itinerary. Because although the vines are entering a time of winter dormancy, the Provence wineries remain places of vital activity, and you’ll find the winemaking families to be warm holiday hosts.
The Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins de Provence (CIVP), known in the United States as the Provence Wine Council, is an organization representing more than 600 wine producers and 40 trade companies from the Provence region of France. Its mission is to promote and advance the wines of the region’s principal appellations. The organization’s members together produce 96 percent of Provence’s Appellation d’Origine Protégée (AOP) wines. More information can be found at www.winesofprovence.com and on social media: facebook.com/winesofprovence, twitter.com/winesofprovence, youtube.com/winesofprovence, and instagram.com/winesofprovence.