Monday, 15 December 2014

Christmas is Served: a World Tour To Uncover Some Typical Christmas Dishes - Part 1

Christmas is just around the corner.
Have you already done your Christmas tree?
What about gifts?
Any ideas for the dinner on the 24th or lunch on the 25th?

Whether you celebrate on Christmas Eve or on Christmas Day, the majority of us know what delicacies are going to delight our palates. 

However, given that Christmas is celebrated worldwide, have you ever wondered what dishes are served on this occasion in other countries?

Today, we are going to take you to discover some Christmas culinary traditions around the world, with particular attention to those countries which are distant from us not only geographically,
but also culturally.
Christmas menus are indeed one of those traditions that best reflect the culture of a country, since they usually have ancient origins that have been silently handed down from generation to generation.

Let's begin our trip!

In India, where the majority of people are Hindus, Christian-faith families organize Christmas lunches and dinners, just like Western people do, with a slight variation on the menu.
The Biryani, made of chicken, lamb, pork or fish, is undoubtedly one of the most common courses and one of the more complete dishes with its mix of rice, meat or fish (but also vegetables for vegetarians), and the inevitable spices to season everything with an exotic, unique and original touch.
Alternatively, especially in northern India, people eat Pulao.
Actually, these two dishes are very similar: the ingredients seem to be the same, although Biryani has different layers and tastes more of curry.

christmas tradition in india

The so-called Sannas, which is used to accompany these spicy dishes, is an excellent substitute for bread: it’s made of rice cakes and can be eaten alone or even for breakfast. Sannas are usually savoury, but there are also sweet versions.

Undoubtedly, Christmas in India is very different from our customs and traditions.
In most case, Western people who visited this country found a huge difference between the Occidental and Indian way of living. Generally speaking, travelling to India over Christmas or in any other period of the year is no doubt an experience that is worth living at least once in a lifetime. You can find useful information about India and the hotels available in the country at the following link:

According to the old Julian calendar, in Ethiopia Christmas falls on Jan 7.
Here, celebrations begin early in the morning, at about 6 am, when people gather in local churches for mass.
Lots of food and drink are served in the houses: a typical Ethiopian Christmas dish is the Doro Wat, which is also one of the most popular recipes of the country. It’s a spicy chicken stew enriched with tomato sauce, onions and various spices.

christmas tradition in ethiopia
Doro Wat is always accompanied with injera, a kind of sour bread on which the stew is literally leaning as on a plate.
On our website you can find some interesting offers to find a hotel in the country's capital, Addis Ababa.

In Portugal, Christmas is indeed an important family celebration. Every region has different traditions associated with this feast: although most of them have Catholic origins, some derive from ancient Norman traditions.
Fire is a typical element in the Portuguese Christmas: on Christmas Eve people use to light up a bonfire which symbolizes the triumph of light over darkness.
Cod, the Portuguese dish par excellence, is the main protagonist during the Christmas dinner. To prepare this tasty dish, women follow the original recipe made with cabbage, potatoes, carrots and eggs.

christmas tradition in portugal
However, in other Portugal cities, instead of cod, people prepare some great stuffed turkey.
Rabanadas too are typical of the Portuguese culinary tradition: they are slices of bread soaked in milk, sugar and lemon peel, which get then carefully fried.
Last, but not least, don't forget the Broas de Milho, a typical dessert of Lisbon, made with corn flour, anise and cedar... Really delicious!
If you want to experience the typical Lisbon saudade at Christmas, here is a wide choice of hotels to choose from.

In Germany the Christmas atmosphere can be experienced anywhere in the country, where thousands of festive lights shine during this magical period of the year.
One of the Protestant traditions counting the days between the 1st and the 24th of December is the so-called Advent Kalendar, which is designed especially for children. This calendar/game consists of a series of containers of various shapes and sizes that hide small cakes and chocolates up to the 25t of December, day when Jesus is suppposed to be born.
The real party begins with the rich Christmas Day's lunch. In the German tradition, the Hauptteller, namely the main course, is the Martinsgans, a delicious roasted goose stuffed with chestnuts, apples and onions, accompanied by red cabbage and Klöße, a sort of big potato dumplings.

christmas tradition in germany
Others prefer a fish menu, which is supposed to be linked to a very ancient Christian tradition. In this regard, the Weihnachtskarpfen (Christmas carps) are attested in numerous ancient stories.
In Germany, desserts are the "real stars" over Christmas holidays, for example, the Lebkuchen, a spiced honey cake, and the Stollen, a block made with almonds, candied fruit, dried fruit and sugar, whose shape reminds of the little baby Jesus wrapped in the bands.
Thanks to our special offers in Germany, it will be very easy to organize a few leisure days in search of these typical culinary traditions!

Let’s take now a flight across the ocean to land in the New World, where different Christmas traditions exist in virtue of the cosmopolitan nature of this country.
Most of them represent a mixture of old and new customs which have been inherited by Europeans. In Hawaii, for example, people are used to exchange Christmas wishes by firing gunfire shots and fireworks, as the first settlers used to do.
The traditional American dinner for the Christmas day is generally composed of roasted turkey or ham, accompanied by vegetables, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce.
The classic party’s dessert is the Santa Claus’ favourite cake: the Mince Pies. According to the tradition,  this cake pastry filled with dried fruit is left on the edge of the fireplace, preferably with a glass of brandy: definitely, a tasty snack for Santa Claus.

christmas tradition in USA
Our first episode dedicated to the Christmas culinary traditions in the world ends here. We have unveiled some of the typical Christmas (dinner or lunch) dishes: starting from exotic India to Germany, from the Portuguese capital to Ethiopia, with a quick stop in the United States of America.

What countries will be covered in our second episode?
Stay tuned to find out!
See you soon!

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