- The French are more likely to eat Oysters, Smoked Salmon with blinis, and a 'Buche' for dessert
- Italians might favour 'antipasta' of cold cured meats, followed a pasta dish and Panettone
- The Danish celebrate on December 24th with roast pork, roast duck, red cabbage and caramelised potatoes
The food at Christmas time and especially the main meal is often what people look forward to most during the festive season. In the UK, our typical Christmas dinner is one we've all come to know and love, yet around the world the traditional Christmas meal tends to be very different. Below is a list of just a few different Christmas meals that we've stumbled upon. What do you normally eat for Christmas?
In the UK families have their Christmas meal on the 25th normally around mid-day/early afternoon. They have traditional roast turkey, Brussels sprouts, roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, stuffing, pigs in blanket, cranberry sauce and plenty of gravy.
Starters and desserts vary from home to home but traditional Christmas pudding, mince pies and Yule logs are amongst some favourites.
We all love food. For Christmas in France we have Oysters, Smoked Salmon with blinis, Capon bird with chestnuts, white veal sausages with hot apples and stuffing. Then we have a 'Buche' which is the dessert.
I am trying to perpetuate a childhood tradition: the 13 desserts. We usually have them on Christmas Eve and, before you ask, you only need to have a little bit of each dessert. It is funny to do it outside of Provence but hey, it is a global world, right? The desserts usually feature lots of fruits and nuts. My personal favourite would be nougat noir, a chewy candy with honey and almonds. I personally like to have a bit of bubbly with it, but that's just me, I suppose.
If you have ever spent Christmas in Italy you will know what sort of feast that is. There is no typical traditional Italian Christmas meal in Italy; the food varies from region to region. All the family unites together and celebrates in style: from the 'antipasto' (the starter made with lots of nibbles, cold cured meats, cheese, olives and fried nibbles), to the 'primo' (or first course) which is usually a pasta dish like lasagne or cannelloni , to the 'secondo' (second course) which is meat or fish served with vegetables and the dessert which is often Panettone or Pandoro served with a sweet and sparkling dessert wine. A sweet nibble to finish such as 'torrone' or nougat is always a delight.
In Denmark Christmas is a huge event and unlike most countries, it's celebrated on December 24th. The whole month of December is full of surprises and fun traditions. On Christmas Eve we get together with the whole family for a lovely Christmas dinner which traditionally consists of: roast pork, roast duck, red cabbage, caramelised potatoes, Brun sovs (dark thicker version of gravy), cucumber salad and rice pudding for dessert. In one of the rice puddings there will be an almond hidden and the person who finds the almond nut in their dessert will receive the almond present called 'Mandelgave'! After dinner, you create a circle around the Christmas tree, holding hands with your family and walk/dance around it while singing traditional Christmas songs. Then it's time to sit and start opening presents.
In Holland Christmas is not a huge event, but is still celebrated. Prior to Christmas day, there is a celebration called 'Sinterklaas' on the 5th of December. This is where children leave their clogs/shoes in front of the fireplace with a letter for Sinterklaas and a carrot for his white horse, hoping to receive presents in their shoe the next morning. Christmas dinners vary per family, there is no set tradition but most people will do something called 'gourmetten'. It's similar to fondue or raclette, but with small pans that you can use to bake your meat, fish or omelettes in. Butchers and supermarkets will have meat and fish cut in small pieces that are especially made to fit the 'gourmet'. Every family in the Netherlands has a set and it often only comes out once a year.
Brazil is a predominantly Catholic country where the birth of Jesus is celebrated by most of its population and where families will reunite for a great feast. The traditional Christmas dinner begins at midnight on the 24th of December. As Brazil is a huge country with a rich history, we have a great variety of Christmas dishes. Some of our typical dishes include ‘rabanada’ (a Brazilian-style French toast), ‘salpicão’ (Brazilian chicken salad), turkey, codfish cake and Panettone!
Food is probably the best thing about Hungarian culture and it really shines through our Christmas traditions as eating is really the focal point of all holiday activity. The most typical meal is stuffed cabbage that the whole family prepares together and eats every single day between Christmas and New Year. It really is something to be proud of if you manage to nail it as you will be eating it everywhere you go from visiting family members to Christmas markets and restaurants so you will be able compare different recipes. Hungarians also make a mean red fish soup with lots of paprika, and goose liver is a must have. To finish the meal we serve a little treat called the Bejgli, a golden pastry roll filled with sweet walnut or poppy seed paste.
In Spain we will have two meals – one on the evening of the 24th and a lunch on the 25th. We'll have the typical starters of jamon (dry-cured ham), chorizo and other bites, before having a large shellfish dinner, which usually consists of prawns, crabs, langoustines, lobster etc. On the 25th we usually tend to have a local delicacy, which can either be lamb or fish or even suckling pork.