No matter where you’re located in the world, or whether you celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve or Christmas day, chances are there’s a traditional dish you look forward to having on your holiday table. It is usually a dish that you rarely get to enjoy the rest of the year. Nearly every country has at least one traditional Christmas food, beverage, or tabletop tradition that makes the holiday season a little more special. For example, Chile has its cola de mono – a beverage made with coffee and aguardiente (the local firewater); Spain fills its tables with Turron; in the US, the tabletop features the sweet aroma of roasted ham. As the Christmas season approaches and brings with it such delectable dishes, you will learn about many traditional Christmas foods from all over the globe.
1) Turrón (Spain)
Turrón is a kind of nougat and it is a staple Christmas food in Spain. It’s made with almonds, honey, sugar, and egg whites. There are two basic kinds of turrón: turrón blando or soft Jijona, which has the consistency of peanut butter, and turrón duro or hard which is quite similar to a thick almond nougat candy.
2) Bûche De Noël (France)
The French cannot imagine their Christmas without a traditional Bûche de Noël, which literally means “Yule log.” It’s a soft chocolate cake rolled in the shape of a log and is usually filled with a decadent chocolate whipped cream. The top can be dusted with confectioners sugar to replicate white snow on a fallen log. Some people get even more decorative and create a Christmas scene around their festive Bûche de Noël.
3) Melomakarono (Greece)
Melomakarono is a sweet cookie made in the shape of oval cakes. They are a vital part of traditional Christmas foods in Greece. After baking, melomakarono is soaked in sugar syrup and honey, which adds a special sweet flavor. The cookies are then sprinkled with chopped walnuts on top and enjoyed during the Christmas season.
4) Roast Ham with Pineapple (USA)
In the USA, traditional food that brings merriment and smiles during Christmas is roast ham with pineapple. In a country where bacon is king and barbecues rule supreme, there is nothing more exciting or sweeter than Christmas ham, that’s roasted for several hours, and served with cherries and pineapple slices. Not only does this dish taste great but it will be quite the conversational piece on your holiday table.
5) Sochivo (Russia)
In Russia, some people choose not to eat anything on Christmas Eve until the first star appears in the sky. People then break their fast with ‘Sochivo’, which is a porridge made from rice or wheat and served with fruit, honey, seeds, and nuts. Porridge is a symbol of unity in Russia. In fact, in the past, families would throw a spoonful of it on the ceiling, and if it would stay there, it signified a good harvest and good luck for the family.
6) Lebkuchen (Germany)
Lebkuchen, also known as “gingerbread,” is a very popular and incredibly delicious Christmas dessert found in Germany. Germany is famous for its beautiful Christmas markets full of religious artifacts, souvenirs, all kinds of food and drinks too. But, the traditional lebkuchen is the star of the show. Panettone (Italy)
7) Panettone (Italy)
Christmas food items vary in different parts of Italy. However, the only dish that is common in the whole country is the world-renowned Panettone cake. This cake is a Christmas delicacy made with sweet yeast dough and packed with raisins, candied fruits, sultans, and nuts. It makes for a perfect gift and with the leftovers, it makes for a great French toast.
8) Bacalhou (Portugal)
In Portugal, one of the main staples on a Christmas table is Bacalhau – a dried and salted codfish. Now here’s an interesting fact. Portugal is the biggest consumer of cod in the world, with 20 percent of all cod caught worldwide being eaten in the country. Therefore at Christmastime, salt cod is prepared in many delicious ways for the holiday. A typical way is where it’s boiled with cabbage and potatoes and seasoned with high-quality Portuguese olive oil.
9) Borscht (Poland)
Borscht or beetroot soup is served as a traditional starter around Christmas time in Poland. This festive red soup can be either be served cold or hot. It is generally enjoyed on Christmas Eve when most Polish people have their main Christmas feast.
10) Christmas Pudding (United Kingdom)
This British Christmastime classic is made with dates, nuts, cinnamon, and ginger. Christmas Pudding is the most popular Christmas dessert in the United Kingdom. However, the real magic happens when the Christmas pudding is flambéed with Brandy. Then you have a real treat!
From Spanish turron to an American holiday ham, we have covered several Christmas delicacies from various cultures from around the world. I hope this article helped you learn about some of the ways other countries celebrate the Christmas holiday with the traditional foods that they hold dear every year.