The Christmas countdown has begun and there’s one thing that we are very excited about… the food! Pigs in blankets with turkey and stuffing springs to mind for the Brits when they are asked to think about Christmas dinner, but what does the festive feast look like in other countries?
In Germany, the most common Christmas dishes are roast goose or roast carp – although pork or duck are sometimes served. This is usually served with roast potatoes, red cabbage, kale and brussels sprouts. For those with a sweet tooth, Pfefferkuchenhaus, a gingerbread house with candies, sweets and icing sugar snow is a Christmas tradition!
In France and many French-speaking countries at Christmas, they have something called the Réveillon. It is traditionally eaten on Christmas Eve or early Christmas morning, after the midnight church service. The Réveillon is a long dinner and dishes includes roast turkey with chestnuts or roast goose, oysters, foie gras, lobster, venison and various cheeses.
During the Norwegian festive season, a whole steamed sheep’s head is not an uncommon dish to find. Gourmandssay the ear and eye should be eaten first as they are the fattiest parts of the head, whereas the brain is spooned out and boiled, or fried. A slightly less unusual option is lamb ribs that are traditionally cooked over a fire of birch branches. These dishes definitely aren’t suitable for vegetarians but Multekrem, a dessert containing cloudberries and sugary whipped cream, should be a safe option.
On December 25th, a Japanese Christmas cake is often served which is a white sponge with cream and strawberries. However, since the 1970s, after a successful advertising campaign, eating KFC around Christmas has become a quirky tradition. KFC’s chicken meals like the ‘party bucket’ have become so popular in Japan that the fast food retailer even takes reservations months in advance!
The roast suckling pig is the Puerto Rican national dish and it needs constant attention from at least two people as it is slowly turned on an outdoor spitfire from the early hours of the morning. Puerto Ricans also enjoy their version of eggnog, which is served in coconut shells and made with rum, condensed milk and coconut milk. If none of that takes your fancy then there’s always plenty of champagne around, flavoured with a variety of liqueurs!
In Sweden, the centrepiece of the Christmas table or ‘Swedish julbord’ is ham that is boiled and glazed with eggs, breadcrumbs and mustard. After that, you can enjoy some ‘Doppi grytan’ which is chunks of bread dipped in a fatty ham broth. Add some boiled whitefish and a selection of cured and pickled meats before washing it all down with a Glögg (mulled wine) and that’s the perfect Swedish Christmas dinner!
If you’re feeling brave why don’t you introduce some of these festive treats to your Christmas dinner menu this year? Although, we aren’t quite sure that a fried sheep’s head goes well with a KFC party bucket or a gingerbread house…