Festive Feasting Around the World
CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS AROUND THE WORLD!
With the big day fast-approaching, feast your eyes on our summary of Christmas food traditions from around the world, as we unwrap the history & reveal the recipes from some of the fave festive foods enjoyed by different nations!
FEASTING IN FINLAND...
‘Hyvää Joulua!’ from Finland – where many enjoy Christmas Eve as the main event. With some serving porridge for lunch (rather than breakfast), one lucky diner will traditionally discover a hidden almond amongst this traditional rice-based dish, with the bearer being considered as the luckiest person on the table! Sometimes rewarded with a small gift, they may also sing a song to celebrate!
This is also the day where many families head to a local market to get their tree and enjoy a ‘Joulusauna’ (Christmas Sauna) before visiting the gravesites of loved ones in the afternoon.
Please click here for a recipe to create your own Finnish Christmas porridge!
Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere is enjoyed in summer, so many Kiwis and Aussie’s will celebrate by gathering around a BBQ to soak up the sun!
Whilst some homes enjoy a traditional roast dinner, many opt for serving up seafood & local fayre alfresco! For those homes with Maori roots, a ‘hungi’ might be on the menu, where fish, chicken and vegetables are covered, and cooked, on hot stones underground to produce a traditional earthy flavour.
Often finished with a Pavlova (click here for a classic pav recipe) this meringue dessert is topped with fresh fruit for the perfect refreshing way to top off the festivities!
FEASTING IN ITALY...
Dating back to the 1200’s, Panettone- aka the ‘big bread’, was originally known as a ‘luxury cake’, only enjoyed at religious ceremonies.
There are a few different versions to this tale, but legend has it that only bakers for the ‘higher classes’ where permitted to bake wheat breads in Milan… except for, and only on, Christmas Day!
Luckily for us there are no restrictions in place, and this sour-dough treat is a staple around the table for festive gatherings in Italy and further afield! Click here for more history on Panettone and its origins!
FEASTING IN GERMANY...
Thought to date as far back as 1329, historians believe that the candied bread 'Dresden Stollen', was orginally created as a result of a contest for the Bishop of Nauruburg.
Tasked with creating bread from special ingredients, legend has it that the Bishop enjoyed a ‘stollen’ offering so much that he ordered a quantity of his grain to be saved, for stollen creations only, from that moment on.
Initially using oats, stollen has now become a firm favourite and a symbol of Christmas celebrations for Germans; with tales of butter bans being lifted & special utensils created, to enable stollen to be enjoyed by the masses – find out more about the rich history of this candied treat here:
FEASTING IN THE NETHERLANDS...
Known as a “chocoladeletter”, chocolate letters are traditionally gifted to loved ones in the Netherlands during the traditional Christmas-time feast of Sinterklaas.
Representing the initial of the recipient’s name, this tradition is so big, that around 20 million letters are thought to be produced each year as these tokens are dished out! Now that’s a tradition we love the sound of!!!!
FEASTING IN THE CARIBBEAN...
Introducing Caribbean Christmas Cake – an aromatic, rich rum & cherry brandy spiced delicacy from the Caribbean!
This West Indian Christmas Recipe can be very strong (cheers to that!!) as, traditionally, the dried fruits are infused months in advance, for an intense flavoured cake that is enjoyed over the Christmas period.
Click here to find a recipe and spice up your cake this year!
FEASTING IN BRAZIL...
Another recipe to 'raise the spirits', Ceia de Natal is a traditional Brazilian Christmas turkey dinner, typically served after the midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.
Utilising one of Brazil’s great ingredients ‘Cachaça’, this recipe link uses the sweet taste of Caipirinha- one of Latin America’s most popular alcoholic beverages!
FEASTING IN POLAND...
Traditionally Christmas Eve is a meat free day in Poland, and this well-loved Borscht dish (barszcz wigilijny) is enjoyed as the starter of a celebratory dinner consisting of 12 dishes (to represent the 12 apostles).
With many variations now used, the classic recipe tends to include beetroot and mushrooms – which is then followed by offerings including pickled herring, cabbage rolls and uszka dumplings.
FEASTING IN JAPAN...
An estimated 3.6 million people in Japan are reported to enjoy a KFC in Japan, with the chain seeing a 10 x fold increase throughout December!
Inspired by an overheard conversation; the first Japanese KFC Manager, is believed to have listened to a couple pining for a traditional Christmas dinner, and so, KFC started marketing the ‘Kurisumasu ni wa Kentakkii’, or 'Kentucky for Christmas'. Launched in 1974, this campaign has been a HUGE success ever since, and is now a tradition for many Japanese over the festive period to tuck into fried chicken!
FEASTING IN COSTA RICA...
Although enjoyed all year year-round now in Costa Rica, tamales were originally only made at Christmas! Created from ground corn, pork, carrots, rice, and sweet pepper, each family often has their own ‘secret’ take on this traditional recipe!
With a few variations on why this tradition has become so prevalent at Christmas, some believe that the wrapped form of tamales is symbolic of the Virgin Mary, carrying in her baby Jesus - particularly so if the tamale contains an olive.
We hope these traditions have given you food for thought - as our Christmas is looking different this year, why not try out one of these ideas for your festive feasting this year?!
From the whole of the team here at Morse Toad, we wish you a very merry and safe Christmas!