Christmas food traditions around the world

December 15th, 2014

Holiday food from around the globe

Food traditions celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, and all the year end festivities around the world are uniquely varied. The IWFS Vancouver Branch for many years at their annual December event specifically focused the meal on only special foods served during this time in different countries including Germany, Netherlands, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Norway and more. Makes for a wonderful educational event. You don’t have to go that far but it is fun and worldly to incorporate one foreign country food item into your menu. Maybe something from your own heritage background. Google it to get ideas and recipes but some of my best ones include:

GREECE: Avgolemo Soup with chicken, lemon & egg; Baklava

HUNGARY: Roast Goose or Duck; Beigli poppy seed cake

NETHERLANDS: Spicy Speculaas Cookies with ginger & cinnamon

MEXICO: Spicy tamales

AUSTRIA: Sachertorte, Linzertorte


FRANCE: Oysters, Foie Gras, Smoked Salmon, Scallops – Coquilles St. Jacques

GERMANY:  Stollen and the most intricate Christmas cookies, Gluhwein,

ITALY: Panforte honey fruitcake, Panettone

ARGENTINA: Empanadas, Asado meats

CHILE: Pan de Pascua sponge cake with cloves & candied fruits

CANADA: Spiced nuts, gingerbread house, shortbreads, cranberry sauce, tourtiere meat pies, Nanaimo bars

CZECH: Fish or pea soup, Potato salad

PUERTO RICO: Pasteles savoury cakes in banana leaves

AUSTRALIA: Usually the hot summer holidays so now cold Christmas dishes work nearly as well as the Barbie

DENMARK: Roast pork & crackling, Glogg mulled red wine with spices

PORTUGAL: Bacalhau cod

SPAIN: Jamon dry cured ham

SWEDEN: Gravad Lax salmon dill, Meatballs

UK: Roast turkey, stuffing, Brussels sprouts, pudding, mince pies

USA: Roast ham after recent November Thanksgiving turkey & regional specialities

My lovely wife Joan has a Norwegian background so we usually include one item from there in our celebrations. For some years it was their traditional Lutefisk of fish preserved in lye. We thankfully gave that one up but now every year we love making their delicious Lefse – a Norwegian potato flat bread and Kransekake – almond ring cake.  Find your own outstanding treat and let us all know what it is. Merry Christmas.

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December 15th, 2014

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