Christmas is the time of the year when families get together, enjoy a good meal, and exchange gifts and stories. It is also a great time of the year to experiment a little in the kitchen, cooking new dishes and desserts.
I’ve been intrigued by absinthe cooking for a while. And I couldn’t think of a better occasion to try it out than Christmas!
Absinthe is an anise-flavored spirit that originated in the Swiss French-speaking canton of Neuchâtel in the 19th century. Given its high level of alcohol content (50-75%), many people (including myself!) dilute absinthe with water before drinking it.
Absinthe was very popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was (and still is) often associated with the Parisian bohemian movement. Known absinthe drinkers included Charles Baudelaire, Ernest Hemingway, Amedeo Modigliani, Arthur Rimbaud, Paul Verlaine, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. (Read about Degas’s painting titled “L’Absinthe” here.)
Often refered to as “la fée verte” (the green fairy), absinthe was banned in many countries, including Switzerland, where the sale and production of absinthe was prohibited from 1910 to 2005.
For this veggie Christmas lunch menu, I used the original Swiss absinthe from Neuchâtel. I’ll be posting all recipes on this blog soon, so do stay tuned!
Sweet potato fries and absinthe cherry tomatoes (recipe)
Polenta with mushrooms in orange sauce (recipe)
Gorgonzola and red chicory risotto, with absinthe pears (recipe)
Cheese: Camembert, Epoisses de Bourgogne, Saint Albray
Dessert buffet: panettone, pandoro, macarons, nougat, orange-flavored chocolate
Hot absinthe chocolate
It was fun cooking these dishes and I am glad my relatives liked the food!
Recipes were from: (i) Book on absinthe cooking by Margaretha Junker and Clara Tuma; (ii) Coop.