Everybody knows that one of the best bits about Christmas is the food. Whether tucking into a scrumptious turkey, or chowing down on mince pies, there’s nothing quite like it. But around the world, things are done a little bit differently from the UK. Here for your viewing pleasure are five Christmas dinners from around the world!
1 Tamales (Costa Rica)
We're starting our list by crossing the North Atlantic Ocean all the way to Costa Rica! 'Tamales' (pronounced 'ta·ma·les' ) is a very Christmas tradition, and if you ask any of the locals they'll each tell that their family has their own ‘secret’ recipe.
The basis of Tamales is corn dough wrapped in a banana leaf or corn husk, which is then steamed. They are commonly stuffed with pork, though you'll sometimes find them with beef or chicken instead. Although optional, you can even stuff them with garlic, onion, potatoes, or raisins as well!
Click the link below to be taken to a recipe where you can make tamales!
2 Hallaca (Venezuela)
Moving on East, a Hallaca could be described as a Venezuelan Tamales. While it is a popular dish all year long for most of Latin America, in Venezuela the Hallaca is a staple Christmas dinner. It is said that every family in the country will reunite during the festive period for the traditional making of the Hallaca. There is no certain set of ingredients to make Hallaca, meaning you'll often find that recipes vary quite a bit - no two families make it the same way!
While ingredients usually differ, the base and outside of a Hallaca will always be made up by spreading a plantain leaf on some corn dough and adding in a range of fillings. Some stewed meat is usually included, be it pork, beef or poultry, and from there you can add in just about anything you want. Raisins, eggs, chickpeas, olives, red peppers, nuts - go crazy! Just make sure not to eat the plantain leaf after serving...
3 Kūčios (Lithuania)
Kūčios is a traditional Lithuanian Christmas dinner, held on December 24th every year. Hosting kūčios is no small feat – this meal can take up to a week to prepare! That might sound crazy to us, but for Lithuanians, the holidays are about celebrating and spending time with family, so a week-long meal prep is certainly a great opportunity for families to get together. It's likely that this is the reason why the tradition has persisted for so long.
Upon its conception, kūčios had nine dishes. It was a pagan practice that later expanded it to 12 dishes however (one for each apostle) when it was appropriated by the Christian church.
You might be wondering "well what exactly makes up a Kūčios?" . Well, you'll be surprised to hear that it contains no meat, dairy, or hot food! Instead, it includes fish, breads, and vegetables. Typically, the items you might see on the menu include herring served in a tomato, mushroom or onion based sauce, smoked eel, vegetables such as potatoes, sauerkraut (it’s cabbage so it counts as a vegetable, right?), and mushrooms, bread or cranberry pudding.
Click the image the link below the image to be taken to a recipe for a Tuna and Avacado Tapas - a dish that can be found as part of Kūčios!
4 Bûche de Noël (France)
I'm sure to most this dish will be quite familiar.
La Bûche de Noël is a dessert that symbolically represents the Yule Log – a wood log that was traditionally carried into the home, sprinkled with wine, and then burned on Christmas Eve. In the 1940s when the practice started to disappear, this dessert emerged and took up the mantle.
Often made from sponge cake and chocolate buttercream, La Bûche de Noël looks quite a bit like a real log. Over the years, other variations on the dessert have emerged including recipes for anything from tiramisu to cran-raspberry mascarpone, caramel cream to Meyer lemon.
Click the link below the image to be taken to a recipe for this delicious Chocolate treat!
5 KFC (Japan)
That's right - in Japan, it has become a tradition to celebrate Christmas with KFC (yes, the fast food brand). It's as crazy as it sounds. It has been reported that almost four million locals will spend their Christmas day tucking into the colonel's recipes due to the ritual, which started to take hold back in the 1970’s. Pre-orders have to be made as early as October whilst on the day queues stretch for yards outside the front door. Think UK Subway stores when they offer free food on Valentine’s Day and you get the picture.