Everyone loves to stuff their face with food over the festive period. In the UK we tuck into traditional dishes like roast turkey, Christmas pudding and mince pies; but what are the traditional Christmas dishes in other countries? Here are our top 5 Christmas dishes enjoyed around the world…
El Turron – Spain
The Spanish certainly have a sweet tooth over the festive season. El Turron, a kind of nougat is a seasonal staple with Christmas markets and shops brimming with the stuff. There are traditionally two types of el turron; Duro is hard nougat with whole almonds encased in sugar, honey and egg whites, blando is a softer version where all the ingredients are blended together. Turron is also enjoyed in Italy, Portugal and Brazil but the Spanish are particularly fond of it at Christmas.
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Christopsomo (Christ’s Bread) – Greece
In Greece the Christmas celebrations kick off on Christmas Eve with the breaking of Christopsomo. This leaved bread is made with lots of delicious ingredients that we all associate with Christmas- orange, cloves, cinnamon, and dried fruits. It also has sesame seeds on traditionally. Loaves can be made to look very simple or elaborate designs can be made out of the dough. Chistopsomo is also often enjoyed along with the Christmas dinner on Christmas Day. Interestingly, Greeks tend to have pork instead of turkey or goose as their Christmas roast!
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Bacalhau (Salted Cod) – Portugal
It is traditional in Portugal to abstain from eating meat on Christmas Eve so this dish of salted cod is a favourite in many Portuguese households. Although dried, salted codfish may not sound like the epitome of a delicious Christmas treat it is actually very tasty and very low in fat so if you are watching your waistline this Christmas give it a try! There are lots of ways to cook the fish; a favourite among Portuguese families is to bake it with potatoes, garlic, and onions in a creamy sauce, kind of like a fish pie!
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Truchas de Navidad – Canary Islands
These delicious little pies are a traditional Christmas treat in the Canary Islands. ‘Trunchas’ means trout in Spanish and these pies are so-called because of their shape. They are filled with sweet potato, ground almonds, lemon zest and anise. They are dusted with powdered sugar and eaten warm. Delicious!
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Panettone – Italy
You may have heard of this Italian classic as we seem to have adopted it as one of our Christmas treats in the UK. Panettone is a sweet bread loaf filled with dried fruits, orange peel and spices. Panettone is traditionally served with sweet wine as a desert after the main Christmas meal in Italy but in the UK people enjoy it as a cake with a cup of tea or even better, mulled wine!
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And now for some not so delicious traditional Christmas foods from elsewhere…
Despite the Japanese not really celebrating Christmas; since a highly effective ad campaign launched in 1974 that stated ‘Kentucky for Christmas!’ KFC has been the staple Christmas dinner for millions of Japanese people. It is so popular that people have to order their chicken buckets up to 3 months in advance and queues at KFC restaurants can stretch for miles on Christmas Day!
If you thought that was bad… In Greenland locals feast on Kiviak, a type of bird that has been wrapped in seal skin and buried for half a year… delicious! Maybe mum’s dry turkey isn’t that bad after all.