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Les 13 desserts: a tradition from south of France Les 13 desserts: a tradition from south of France The thirteen desserts are the traditional dessert foods used in celebrating Christmas in the French region of Provence. The "big supper" (le gros souper) ends with a ritual 13 desserts, representing Jesus Christ and the 12 apostles. The desserts always number thirteen but the exact items vary by local or familialtradition The food traditionally is set out Christmas Eve and remains on the table three days until December 27. Dried fruits and nuts: Four beggars The first four of these are known as the "four beggars" (les quatre mendiants), representing the four mendicant monastic orders: Dominicans, Franciscans, Augustinian and Carmelites. Raisins (Dominicans), Walnuts or hazelnuts (Augustines) Dried figs (Franciscans), Almonds (Carmelites) Dates, representing the foods of the region where Christ lived and died. Dried plums from Brignoles (a town in south of France) Fresh fruits: Apples, Pears, oranges, winter melon, grapes, tangerines Sweets: Calissons dAix en Provence: almond-paste pastry with sugar icing (marzipan) Casse-dents of Allauch (biscuit) Cumin and fennel seed biscuits Fried bugnes Fruit tourte Oreillettes, light thin waffles Pain dépice Les quatre mendiants: the four beggars Pompe à l’huile or fougasse à lhuile dolive, a sweet cake or brioche made with orange flower water and olive oil quince paste (Pâte de coing) Two kinds of nougat, symbolizing good and evil Black nougat with honey (Nougat noir au miel), a hard candy made with honey and almonds White nougat (Nougat blanc), a soft candy made with sugar, eggs, pistachios, honey, and almonds.