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Saturday, January 29, 2022

Goose in Germany, tamales in Costa Rica: What people around the world eat on Christmas

This Christmas, make sure you try some of these!

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
December 12, 2021 9:40:31 pm
christmas dinnerCountries around the globe celebrate Christmas with unique culinary traditions. (Photo: Pexels)

Christmas is a holiday that is celebrated across the globe. And it is one which is centered around important food traditions that have lived through generations on family dinner tables. But to equate this global holiday with just eggnoggs and roast turkeys would be overlooking the many exciting traditions that people around the world practise. From fried chicken in Japan, ham in Sweden, lamb in Iceland to the Stollen in Germany and the tamales of Costa Rica, here’s a round up of how the dinner tables look across the world on this Yuletide feast.

Fried chicken in Japan


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Christmas wasn’t traditionally celebrated in Japan, so when KFC opened in the country in the ’70s, and they offered a Christmas “party barrel” inspired by America’s classic turkey dinner, it soon became Japan’s Christmas tradition. After it blew up, Christmas orders at KFC had to be booked two months in advance.

Feast of the Seven Fishes and Panettone in Italy


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When it comes to Italy, its many regions practise different culinary traditions when it comes to the Christmas dinner. It can be said the Feast of the Seven Fishes, which comprises seven different fishes cooked in seven different ways, is one of the grandest. While the fish can differ, calamari and salted cod are a must. To sweeten the palette, there’s the inimitable panettone which is a sweet bread packed with sultanas, raisins and candied peels that the whole family shares during the Christmas feast.

Christmas goose and Stollen in Germany


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The Weihnachtsgans, or the roasted goose, is omnipresent in Germany Christmas traditions. Some say it is a British tradition that made its way to Germany while come claim it was the meal of choice for medieval Christians after they fasted from St. Mary’s Day to Christmas. The roasted goose is served with accompaniments like SpätzleKnödel, and red cabbage. It is followed by a German fruit cake called Stollen or Weichnachsstollen which is also given as a gift during Christmas.

Lechon in Puerto Rico


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Puerto Rico’s Christmas dinner, which is locally called Nocha Buena, is spread out after Miso de gallo, or the ‘Mass of the Rooster’. On the table, a a spit roasted pig, known as ‘lechon’is a must which takes the whole family and a very long time to prepare. To complement it, there’s cured pork, pasta, ball of cheese, spring rolls, coconut-based pudding, and a Puerto Rican eggnogg infused with coconut

Tamales in Costa Rica


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While tamales can be found round-the-year now, they were traditionally made only during Christmas. While almost every family has its own recipe, ground corn, pork, carrots, rice, sweet pepper, and achiote are commonly used which are wrapped in a plantain leaf and cooked.

Julbord in Sweden

Julbord is a three-course meal that consists of a fish preparation, which is often pickled herring, followed by cold cuts like Christmas ham (Julskinka) and sausages. The third course is meatballs and potato casserole which is locally called Janssons frestelse and there’s also pickles and cheese served on the table. Saffron buns are served after the meal for dessert.

Roast lamb in Iceland


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In Iceland, a leg of a roast lamb sits in the middle of the dinner table as the star of the meal. It is served with leaf bread which is made out of thin sheets of dough.

Bûche de Noël in France

Apart from oysters, foie gras, and a meat dish, the French version of the Yule log which is a giant cake that gets wiped off in a matter of minutes. It is served with a meringue ‘mushrooms’ and is commonly found in a chestnut flavour.

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