The ‘Gros soupa’ is a dinner that traditionally takes place on the evening of the 24th December and finishes before midnight, to go to midnight mass.
The table has to be beautiful and the crockery remains for 3 days. Firstly, three white tablecloths of different sizes are laid so that they can all be seen (the biggest, then the middle-one then the smallest). The first tablecloth is used for the ‘Gros Soupa’, the second one for Christmas Day and the 3rd for Boxing Day.
On the table are laid 3 saucers of wheat, three candles and the best service, not to mention an extra place at the table (the now-symbolic ‘pauper’ place), open to a poor person on Christmas Eve. Next, into the kitchen to prepare the ‘Gros Soupa’ (certain parts of which have been prepared beforehand, sometimes several weeks in advance!).
The 7-course menu uses local, seasonal produce, and varies throughout the region, but there are some staples: chard, snails, cod, mullet, celery, chickpeas and cheese.
There are 7 wines (if possible), with mulled wine being an absolute staple.
The advent bread is also a little different – a round loaf shaped into a cross. At the beginning of the meal, it is divided into 3: one part for the poor, one for the meal, and one for miracles.
You can also add 12 small loaves, and a bigger one, decorated with branches of holly.
The meal ends with the 13 desserts.