It's the most wonderful time of the year - and that's for one specific reason: the food. Christmas is the one time of year we allow ourselves to indulge in our fave treats, utterly guilt free. Here's what the festive feast looks like in 8 different countries...
In Hungary, Christmas dinner is no joke. Fish soup makes up the Hungarian christmas eve menu, alongside turkey and stuffed cabbage. On Christmas day, meat soup is followed by sausages, roasted pork and vegetables – rounded off with a spread of confectionary, which will usually include sweet bagels. Even our eating pants might not survive this one…
In the UK, our go-to Christmas meal consists of roast turkey with all the trimmings accompanied by a spread of vegetables, roast potatoes, brussel sprouts, stuffing, pigs in blankets and gravy – topped off by a yummy, stodgy christmas pudding that gets ceremoniously lit on fire. Oh, and how could we forget about the abundance of fragrant mulled wine?
While you would think the Italians chow down on a mountain of pasta, they actually partake in a light meat-free seafood banquet, as a homage to centuries of religious tradition. The feast, nevertheless, is nothing short of mouth watering, and features everything from swordfish to octopus. The concept is to eat lean to prepare your body for the holiday. If only we had that sort of willpower…
Germans like to do everything on a large-scale, and christmas is no exception. A large goose is the traditional German christmas dinner centrepiece, with a side of bread dumplings, braised red cabbage and vegetables. Washed down with a large glass of red wine, of course…
Icelandic Christmas dinner is eclectic, and features everything from western classics such as smoked pork with all the trimmings, to the more obscure Icelandic local delicacies that one might imagine – like lightly smoked puffin, or bird stew. Warning: the latter may not be for the faint hearted.
Shellfish, octopus and marinated pork are regular fixtures on any Portuguese Christmas menu, but Portugal breaks the mould with not one, but two christmas cakes: a king cake and a queen cake. While both are similar to fruit cakes with candied fruit and powdered sugar on top, the queen cake is filled with more raisins and nuts – but has no candied fruit. Interesting concept…
Turkey takes centre stage in a Mexican Christmas feast, accompanied by anything from salted codfish to pork stew or pineapple topped ham, depending on the region, and of course, the family. In Mexico, enjoying the leftovers is just as central to Christmas tradition as the main meal itself, and many Mexicans partake in the ceremonial enjoyment of turkey mole – spiced leftover christmas turkey served with rice. Mmmm.
Swedish Christmas dinner is exactly as one would imagine; a smörgåsbord of yummy dishes, such as various types of pork, eggs and anchovies, liver pate, pickled herring, and traditional rye bread. The piece de resistance of a Swedish Christmas spread, however, is Lutfisk – a specialty fish dish which involves soaking ling in water and leaving it to swell before cooking.