Even if for some Christmas is just consumption, others enjoy the festive spirit or even just want to spend time together. Because just as important as the gifts for many are the culinary treats, especially because they can be enjoyed with the whole family. In Germany, you can’t miss goose at Christmas, and in some regions you can also have carp or sausages with potato salad on Christmas Eve.
This has tradition in this country. But what actually comes in other countries on the table?
What does Christmas taste like … in Thessaloniki, Greece:
In Greece, special emphasis is placed on a traditional Christmas. On 24. December, the children go from house to house singing to announce the birth of Christ, blessing the houses and bringing good luck to the residents. Traditionally, they accompany the Greek Christmas songs, so-called kalanta, with drums, triangles and bells. "Orthodox Christians in Greece especially look forward to the sumptuous treats at Christmastime, as Christmas Day marks the end of the 40-day fasting period for them," says Giannis Parikos, chef at Sani Asterias Suites. "Usually there is a big feast for the whole family". One of the most common dishes is the stuffed turkey and melomakarona (pastry made of almonds and semolina)."
In Greece, gifts are only given on New Year’s Eve. They are presented by St. Basil. "That night, the Vassilopita is also divided among the guests. This is a large yeast cake with a coin baked into it. Whoever finds the coin will be especially lucky next year," explains Giannis Parikos.
What do you eat … in Mallorca, Spain at Christmas time:
"To La Noche Buena, the Christmas Eve, the Mallorcans let it go quite comfortably," informs Mallorca expert Ralf Zur Linde, founder of fincallorca. "They drink hot chocolate and eat ensaimades, a typical Mallorcan lard pastry in the shape of a snail, which has been around since the 17. Century gives."On Christmas Day there is also in Mallorca a big feast with many different dishes. "Most popular are suckling pig and sobrasada, an air-dried raw sausage spread. Often even in combination. Then the suckling pig is filled with the sobrasada," explains Ralf Zur Linde.
Traditionally there are no presents at Christmas. The kids in Mallorca need to get up to 6. January to be patient, because then the Magi bring their gifts. In return they can enjoy turron during the Christmas season. "These are made from egg whites, sugar, honey and almonds and are comparable to Turkish honey," says the founder.
You are looking for another Spanish island to escape from winter? How about the Canary island Lanzarote to switch off?
Culinary specialties … in Sardinia, Italy:
Sa Paschixedda, the little Easter – that’s what the Sardinians call Christmas. For them, as a Catholic nation, Easter is the highest church festival of the year. "Rich dishes are still available in Sardinia, however," explains Pierluigi Putzu, chef at the Hotel Capo D’Orso Thalasasso& Spa, the Delphina Hotels and Resorts. The most famous of all is probably the Panettone.
According to Pierluigi Putzu, this speciality is traditionally doused with spumante. "Agnello (lamb), maialetto (Sardinian suckling pig), capretto (kid) or fish are also often served. Various vegetable side dishes and fine Sardinian wines such as Vermentino or Cannonau complement the feast."
The gifts are traditionally brought by the Befana on Epiphany Day. Befana is an old, creepy witch. According to legend, the Magi had offered her to come along to Jesus’ birthplace. Befana had declined the offer, but then changed her mind and went looking for the Magi on her broom. "Neither the kings nor the Christ Child found her, which is why she goes in search of them every year on Epiphany. It distributes sweets in the shoes of children, hoping that one of them is Jesus Christ," explains Perluigi Putzu. In recent years, however, Sardinia is increasingly adopting the Modern Christmas, in which the children on 25. December may unwrap their gifts. These are the things that Babbo Natale (engl. Father Christmas) brought, who is similar to Santa Claus.
How does Christmas taste … in Praslin, Seychelles:
Christmas is also celebrated in faraway countries and on small islands, like the Seychelles. Traditionally, the festivities there begin early on the morning of the 24th. December with the slaughter of a pig. "Families fed the animal all year round to make it extra fat," explains Barnsley Denis, chef at Losean Restaurant at Raffles Praslin. "Families then make blood sausage from the pig, fry the skin until crispy. A hearty pork roast or chops may not be missing of course also."
The bones and feet of the pig are also used in the Seychelles. "They are used to make a hearty soup, which the Seychellois eat on 26. December enjoy to end the festivities. In the soup are usually also carrots, pumpkin, rice and lentils," explains the cook.
Culinary delights of the Seychelles
Some families also serve curries with chicken or squid in coconut milk at Christmas. Popular starters are papaya chutney or palm heart salad. "The cuisine is very diverse and combines the influences of numerous cultures," the chef said at. Children especially look forward to delicious desserts like cassava pudding or Creole cake with papaya jam and nutmeg. On the gifts, however, they do not have to wait very long, they are on the 25. December from Santa Claus.
More beautiful, wellness moments of the Seychelles can be found in the dream vacation destination Seychelles
What to eat at Christmas … in Ootmarsum, Netherlands:
"Much more important than Christmas for us Dutch is Sinterklaasavon – St. Nicholas Eve," reports Gerhard Muller chef at Parkhotel de Wiemsel. In the night of 5. on the 6. December Sinterklaas comes with the Zwarten Piet to the families.
Through the chimney of the houses he drops the gifts into the house. "Dutch Santa Claus is a real joker. In a large gift box there are often many small boxes, which the recipient must unpack one after the other. To each gift there is in addition a funny poem, which is co-ordinated exactly with the presentee , says Gerhard Mueller.
This is what Christmas tastes like in the Netherlands
Kerstmis – Christmas Eve – is still a family celebration, without big gifts, but with a sumptuous feast. Often there is roast beef or game. In many families nowadays you also eat fondue or gourmetten, a kind of raclette. "Unlike raclette, however, no cheese goes into the small pans but side dishes, such as eggs, spring onions, small potatoes or mushrooms. Meat and fish are grilled on the upper part of the Gourmet Set – as the Dutch call the raclette set," explains Gerhard Muller.
By the way, in my search for Christmas, I was struck by the most beautiful during my Christmas travels Christmas markets in Bavaria already found.