National Bouillabaisse Day

Celebrated annually on December 14th, National Bouillabaisse Day recognizes the soup or stew made from different types of fish. This dish was originally invented by French fishermen in Marseille who used a type of fish they couldn’t sell to markets or restaurants: the rockfish.

Bouillabaisse can also have other types of fish added to it, besides or in addition to rockfish. Fish that can end up in this dish include turbot, European hake, octopus, mussels, or even sea urchins.

The History of Bouillabaisse

Much like the history of National Bouillabaisse Day, the stew’s history is also lost to time. Although we don’t know when this dish was invented, we do know it was a traditional Provençal dish that started originally in ancient Greece but was refined to its current form in the port city of Marseille in France.

The word for this dish comes from the Provençal Occitan word “Bolhabaissa,” a word that means to boil and simmer. A traditional bouillabaisse starts with a Provençal soup base. This soup base will have herbs and spices that are available in Provence, including garlic, tomatoes, fennel, thyme, bay, saffron, olive oil, onions, and of course, fish.

It may also have dried orange peel and a hint of wine in it. The fish that’s placed into this soup or stew depends on what is locally available at the time. This could be rockfish, grondin, red gurnard, greater weever, and sea urchins.

Of course, traditional bouillabaisse isn’t the only way this soup can be made. There are a variety of other recipes that people can try out. For example, there’s lobster and mussel bouillabaisse, New England style, Cajun style, and Italian style bouillabaisse. Just choose the one that suits you best and make it to celebrate this holiday.

Savory Facts About Bouillabaisse

Since you would probably appreciate some trivia to enjoy while you’re sipping your bouillabaisse off a spoon on this holiday, we decided to list some of the savory facts we’ve learned about it during our research. Let’s dig into some of them and see if they’re tasty.

  • The name of this stew indicates how it’s cooked: boil broth, add a type of fish, bring it back to boil, then turn it down to simmer.
  • Although there are many fish soups, bouillabaisse is different because of the use of Provençal herbs.
  • Bouillabaisse appears in Roman mythology. It’s the soup that Venus fed to Vulcan.
  • The origins of this dish go back to 600 B.C. in Greece.

Observing National Bouillabaisse Day

Observing National Bouillabaisse Day is as easy as making a bowl of stew. Whip up one of your favorite versions of this stew, or go to a restaurant that serves it. You can also use the hashtag #BouillabaisseDay to spread the word about this holiday and let everyone know you’re celebrating it.

When is it?
This year (2024)
December 14 Saturday
Next year (2025)
December 14 Sunday
Last year (2023)
December 14 Thursday
Food & Drinks