Do I need to say it? Thanksgiving will be different this year- this year you are celebrating Thanksgiving with a French twist! While the holiday is not celebrated in France (although Canada has its own version every October), there are ways you can play with your American traditions and try something new.

Skip the mashed potatoes.

Ok, so maybe you don’t want to completely skip the mashed potatoes, but trying a French potato recipe is a great way to add a French twist to your holiday. Why not try one of these four recipes from Taste of France magazine? As you might expect, these sides include a mix of herbs, butter, and cheese with your pommes de terre!

Watch a soccer or rugby match instead of the NFL.

American football is not as popular in Europe as it is in the United States. Instead, many Europeans go crazy for le foot (soccer)! Rather than watching the Lions or the Steelers on November 26, take in a game from one of the teams in the Europa league . If you aren’t into soccer, rugby is also a popular European sport to watch. The rules of the game are closer to American football than soccer and it can be viewed using a VPN (virtual private network) or a streaming service, such as ESPN+ or NBC Sports Gold.

Don’t forget the apéritif!

It opens the evening and your appetite. The apéro is a time before your meal to enjoy a cocktail or glass of wine and a few appetizers with your guests, talk about your days, and enjoy each other’s company. Pop a bottle of champagne or make a refreshing kir and nibble on some nuts, olives, radishes with salted butter, and/or charcuterie. Perhaps apéro is already part of your celebrations. Well, then you are already French! 🙂

Think to add a cheese plate after dinner.

While the charcuterie board remains uber popular in the US, the cheese plate is typiquement français. Usually served after dinner with a salad of lettuce before or in lieu of dessert, a good cheese platter is something many French people look forward to. Try cheeses from different categories including hard, soft, nutty, blue, and creamy. Eat the weakest flavors first and save the strongest for the end. Might we suggest the following platter? A Valency or Crémeux de Bourgogne, a brie de Meaux or Morbier, a Pont l'evêque or comté, and a Roquefort or bleu d’auvergne. Don’t forget the baguette!

Say “merci”.

The name of the day itself reminds us that this is a time to show gratitude. For some that means giving thanks within and others share what they are thankful for around the dining room table. You can never say it enough. We may struggle this year but there is always something or someone that deserves an expression of gratitude. If you are in the habit of saying thank you and don’t know how to say it in a different way, why not say it in French?! A simple “merci” (or more formally, “je vous remercie”) can go a long way to warm someone’s heart.

How are you going to celebrate your Thanksgiving with a French twist this year?

**If you are looking for ways to incorporate a French touch into the holidays, have you seen our Taste of France holiday packages? They are a great way to add French products to your festivities!

Natalie Collet

Former Membership Manager

From the Midwest, Natalie is a Francophile at heart. Her interest in French started when studying ballet and​ the language and culture entranced her through her student years.​ She became involved with the - Alliance - in the suburbs of Chicago after she spent an unforgettable year teaching English in a French high school near Bordeaux. She is happy to join the team in Boston and work with the members to provide them with unique opportunities​, ​quality programming​, and a community through French!

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