The streets are decorated, you feel the cold and different smells are coming from the kitchens. There’s no doubt about it, Christmas is just around the corner.
Parties in different parts of Europe are celebrated in different ways but what all of them have in common is the special food that’s only made at this time of the year.
We begin with Spain. No Christmas table is complete without seafood, roast pork, stuffed turkey and soup for starters. It’s difficult to choose a single dish as each region has its own characteristics. A typical table would have Serrano ham and cheese in Andalucia, puchero in Valencia, roast suckling pig in Extremadura, and almond and marzipan biscuits in Castilla La Mancha.
If we hop over to Germany, we find mostly sweet dishes. Highlights include Welfenspeise, a pudding made from whipped egg whites and covered with a fine layer of white wine, Christstollen, a fruit bread with dried fruits, is also extremely popular, as is Lebkuchen, which is quite similar to gingerbread, and Feuerzangenbowle, a punch made from dry red wine, cinnamon sticks, orange slices and cloves is the preferred festive tipple.
In France, starters play a major role, and a big favourite is foie gras served with brioche bread or oysters, both are very typical in Paris. Stuffed poultry meat with cranberry sauce and seafood is also a big hit, and of course, no French dinner would be complete without cheese for dessert.
In Switzerland, they favour traditional Swiss cooking. The main dish is Fondue Chinoise, a dish that’s quite easy to prepare and includes thin slices of beef and horse meat cooked in a fondue pot with vegetable broth and several sauces served on the side.
Turkey is the king in England. It’s cooked stuffed and served with sausages, gravy, Brussels sprouts and other vegetables. Every home has Christmas pudding, which is made with plums and dressed with brandy or rum and set alight, and Mince Pies, made from apples and a mix of dried fruits.
In Central Europe, fish soup and Milanese Christmas Carp (Czech Republic) are big favourites, while in Hungary, Töltött káposzta, cabbage stuffed with meat and rice, is extremely popular. When it comes to desserts, we can’t leave out Vánočka, a braided bread with raisins and almonds.
So, whip out your best tablecloths and cutlery and enjoy these Christmas flavours!