Christmas in New England is full of many marvelous traditions ranging from making ornaments out of Victorian Scrap paper, sending vintage postcards, making an advent calendar from matchboxes not to mention creating a rum flavored fruitcake, hosting a traditional wassail bowl, and making Pistachio Cranberry Icebox and Joe Frogger cookies.

Yet not to be forgotten amidst the decorations and sweets, is a century old dish that can easily defeat the region’s cold winds and still welcome wintery guests.

New England Christmas Mussels


  • 1 small slice of butter
  • 6 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely sliced
  • 1 small bunch fresh thyme, leaves stripped
  • 3 pounds Taylor Mediterranean Mussels, scrubbed and debeard
  • 5 ozs cider 
  • 2 tbsp crème fraîche


  1. Clean and de-beard mussels
  2. Cook mussels until mussels open.
  3. Heat the butter in a pan large enough to easily hold the mussels.
  4. Fry the bacon for 4 mins, turning occasionally until it starts becoming crisp.
  5. Add the shallots and thyme leaves.
  6. Cook for 1 min until softened.
  7. Increase the heat to maximum.
  8. Add the mussels to the pan.
  9. Pour cider over the mussels.
  10. Place a lid on the pan.
  11. Shake pan and cook mussels for 5-7 minutes.
  12. Cook until the mussels have opened.
  13. Use a slotted spoon to scoop the mussels into bowls.
  14. Put the pan back on the heat.
  15. Bring the juices to the boil.
  16. Stir in the crème fraîche.
  17. Pour the sauce over the mussels.
  18. Serve with hunks of crusty bread for mopping up the sauce.