For many, one of the best things about Christmas is the food. Are you one of those people who abandon the diet for a day – or two maybe – in favour of festive treats? From turkey and all the trimmings to port, cheese, mince pies and family-size boxes of glittery wrapped chocolates, the great British Christmas is a time for showing off how much you can really eat!
But have you ever wondered what Christmas looks like in other countries across the world?
Christmas dinner in Sweden
When it comes to Christmas, the Swedish julbord (Christmas table) is sure to set your mouth watering. Forget turkey; here the centrepiece is a boiled ham, glazed with breadcrumbs and mustard. Dopp i grytan, (literally translated – dipping in the kettle) will have you dunking hunks of fresh bread into a comforting ham broth. Apart from ham, there are smoked, cured and pickled meats to enjoy as well as boiled whitefish and cabbage cooked with dark syrup. Wash it all down with a delicious, warming tankard of glögg (mulled wine) for the quintessential Swedish Christmas.
Christmas dinner in Iceland
In Iceland, the Yule meal centres on a succulent leg of lamb accompanied by laufabrauð, (crispy fried flat breads) cut into delicate patterns. Other specialties are game – grouse with berries is a favourite – and seafood such as marinated herring or creamy, curry-flavoured langoustines. Then there’s möndlu grautur, a delicious rice pudding made with whipped cream and chopped almonds with one whole almond hidden inside for a lucky winner. A blend of Maltöl (malt beer) and orange soda is one of Iceland´s most traditional Christmas drinks, fondly nicknamed Christmas Ale by the locals.
Christmas dinner in Jamaica
Gungo rice and green peas are reserved for Christmas as an alternative to the everyday red pea version. This is often accompanied by delicious curried goat, stewed oxtail, roast beef and chicken. Cheesy macaroni is another Christmas staple, along with seasonal vegetables and potato salad, so vegetarians definitely won’t go hungry. For sweet treats, fruit cake is almost a religion at Jamaican Christmases. They leave dried fruits to soak in red wine and rum for several months prior to baking. The result: a moist, sumptuously flavoured cake. Finally, no Jamaican Christmas is really complete without a glass of sorrel – the potent herby national brew guaranteed to make you quite jolly!
Christmas dinner in Eastern Europe
In countries like Ukraine, Lithuania and Poland you will come across interesting variations of an intricate 12-dish Christmas Eve feast representing each month of the year. However, milk, meat and eggs are often kept off the table as dictated by the Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches. Soup lovers feast on mushroom, fish, white bortsch or sweet almond soups, followed by fabulous fish, dumplings, croquettes and grain-based dishes – just make sure you don’t skip a dish or tradition has it you might not make it to Christmas next year!