French Easter Traditions + Great French Easter Wines + Great French Potluck Recipe

Happy Easter everyone! Here’s how to add a little savoir-faire to this solemn yet joyous holiday, including: An Easy French Potluck Dish for Easter (it’s a simple recipe for Gratin Dauphinoise) and three Great French Rosés. Also, the answer to that question: “What’s with the Chocolate Bells on Easter in France?”

1. Great French Side Dish for Easter

So, you’ve been asked to bring a dish to Easter Dinner, and you’re thinking: Hmmmmm….maybe something French. (That’s what I’d be thinking, anyway). Here’s what I’d be bringing:


French Scalloped Potatoes (Gratin Dauphinoise).

I’ve posted the recipe, below.

2. Three Great French Rosé Wines for Easter

I love Rosé for day drinking, and in my experience, they’re a shoo-in for Easter. They provide the bright refreshment that goes well with a spring day; many have a little more heft than a white—they’ll mesh well with all that food, without weighing you down. If you’re serving ham, they’re especially amazing–they just go so well with the salty-sweetness of the meat.

GrisBlanc Gerard BertrandHere are three that always make my list!

• Gerard Bertrand Gris-Blanc (Pays d’Oc; $13): This rosé has just a whisper of pink—bringing just enough red-fruit roundness to add a silky angle to the otherwise “crisp-dry white” feel of the wine.

E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône Rosé (France; $18): Find French elegance at a moderate price in this Grenache- and Cinsault-based rosé. Enjoy the zip of raspberries and red currants balanced by a firm, round mouth-feel.

• H&B (Hecht and Bannier) (Pays d’Oc; $18): A classic South-of-France rosé. Enjoy bright red fruit made even brighter with a tropical fruit character.

3. A “Belle” Easter Bell Tradition

Cloche de Pâques. According to Easter lore, church bells fly over France en route from Rome, dropping chocolate Easter eggs along the way.

Did you know: The French are more likely to have chocolate Easter bells or eggs than Easter bunnies. Here’s why: The bells are silenced on Good Friday, then ring again on Easter. Parents tell their children that the ringers were sent to Rome, and that when the bells fly back, they drop chocolate eggs all their way home.

So–here’s the recipe I promised. Enjoy!


Easy Gratin Dauphinoise (French Scalloped Potatoes)
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 to 8 servings
The easiest recipe for Gratin Dauphinoise (French Scalloped Potatoes) ever.
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1½ cups 2 percent or whole milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ cup shredded Comté, Gruyère, or Emmental cheese (about 2 ounces)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Rub the inside of a 2-quart baking dish all over with the garlic and discard the garlic. Coat the inside of the dish with the butter.
  2. In a large saucepan, combine the potatoes, milk, cream, salt, pepper, and a few gratings of nutmeg. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer until the liquid thickens slightly, about 5 minutes, gently turning the potatoes once or twice with a slotted spoon. Spoon the potatoes evenly into the baking dish and pour the milk mixture over the potatoes. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top.
  3. Bake until the cheese is golden and the potatoes are tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.



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six + = 14

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