Christmas Dinner & Foods
The holidays are right around the corner. It is the time of the year that you spend with family and friends. And even though every country celebrates Christmas differently, there is one thing all of them have in common – indulging in food and having Christmas Dinner together is a major part of the festivities. However, every country has its own traditions when it comes to dishes and treats. Here are some traditions and Christmas foods from all around the globe:
When thinking about Switzerland, what most likely comes to your mind first are mountains, forests, and winter sports. The country turns into a beautiful winter wonderland as soon as the first snowflakes start falling. And that’s the time when the Swiss start having the famous Fondue. The dish is easy to put together (basically just melting cheese with a shot of cherry liquor and cutting up bread to dip in it) as well as entertaining and fun to have at a Christmas party. And who doesn’t like cheese after all.
Canada is known for being very cold during wintertime. So, what better way to warm up than having a mulled beverage? Warm red wine with added spices or tea, whiskey, rum, and citrus. And kids will have a cup of warm, non-alcoholic apple cider. There are various versions of the comforting drink which Canadians love having while relaxing by the fireplace.
Not only the tradition of putting up a Christmas tree has its origins in Germany. Also, the Christstollen, a fruit bread with nuts, dried fruit and spices, coated in icing sugar, and the traditional Lebkuchen, a baked Christmas cookie comparable with gingerbread, come from Germany. You can find those treats for instance on the over 1,000 Christmas markets all over the country. However, you will find the best Lebkuchen in Nuremberg, where they were invented. For dinner, many families are having roasted goose.
What seems to be slightly strange to most of us is the following Japanese tradition: having KFC for Christmas Dinner. That’s not a joke! It originated from a Holiday marketing campaign, inspired by the Western tradition of having a turkey dinner. Therefore, since the 1970s every Christmas, Japanese families are queuing up in front of the famous Fast Food chain restaurant to get their fried chicken.
Celebrating Christmas from 8th December until 6th January the ‘Bel Paese’ truly knows how to keep up the holiday spirit. Of course, food cannot be missing. One of the most popular Christmas treats is the Panettone, a cake with candied fruit, raisin, and nuts. It can be eaten with a cup of special, viscous hot chocolate, cioccolata densa.
As in many other countries, Christmas is typified by family gatherings. Especially getting together in the morning of 25th December for breakfast is a widespread thing to do. Common foods you will find on almost every Dutch breakfast table are freshly baked goods and Worstenbroodjes and Saucijzenbroodjes, sausages with a puff pastry wrapping. Of course, a sweet delicacy cannot be missing. The Kerststol is a sweet bread with dried fruits, raisins, lemon and orange zest, and sprinkled with powdered sugar on top. The difference to the German Christstollen, however, is that there sometimes is a layer of creamy almond paste on the inside.
Ice skating rinks, giant light displays, and festivals. The United States has lots to offer! Also, food wise they go all in. The meal on Christmas Eve or the night of Christmas Day consists of Turkey with hearty sides such as stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and vegetables. A special treat is Eggnog. It is a mixture made from eggs, sugar, and cream, oftentimes flavoured with nutmeg.
The US is not the only country which eats turkey with various sides during the holidays. In the UK it is very common to have it, too. In addition, part of the dinner is amongst others the British Christmas Pudding consisting of thirteen ingredients, symbolising Jesus and the Twelve Apostles. Traditionally, a silver coin is put in it as it’s said to bring luck to the person who finds it.
Ever seen Santa surfing? In Australia that’s as normal as Santa in his sleigh pulled by reindeer. And since Christmas is in the middle of summer on the other side of the world, it only makes sense to substitute the roast turkey. Generally, by what the Australians do best – an Australian BBQ of grilled sausages, burgers, steaks, and prawns, salads, and plenty of cold beer. For dessert, there are ice cream and fruit. Those barbecues are always a fun way to kick back with family and friends, while enjoying the sun.
Before the service on Christmas Eve, families traditionally get together to enjoy dinner: turkey stuffed with truffles (not the chocolate ones!) or seafood such as lobster, shellfish and small crabs, in the more coastal areas. No Spanish Christmas Dinner would be complete without a glass of Cava, the Spanish version of champagne. During the whole holiday season Spaniards love a sweet bread ring, topped with candied fruits and crushed almonds, stuffed with whipped cream, called Roscón de Reyes. Sometimes, the baker hides a small figure inside of it. The person who finds it has the honour of buying the cake the next year.
As you can see every country has to offer a huge variety of delicious foods. Did they spark your interest? Give it a go and try cooking some of the traditional foreign dishes yourself! You might take over one or another tradition.
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