Christmas Food & Drink

Turkey is often regarded as the usual Christmas meal but appeared on the menu only around 1650 after European colonisation of North America. It was introduced to Europe by Sebastian Cabot on his return from the New World. The bird got its name after merchants from Turkey made it a popular dish. Prior to this Swan, Goose, Peacock or Boar were associated with the Christmas feast.

Traditional seasonal grub varies with geography and a large variety of dishes are enjoyed today.

  • Australia:
    Christmas is in midsummer and lunch is often a barbecue of prawns, steak and chicken with ice cream or sorbet for desert, maybe cooked at the beach.
  • Czech Republic:
    Traditionally the meal is eaten on Christmas Eve and consists of fish soup, salads, eggs and carp. The number of people at the table must be even or the one without a partner is supposed to be dead by next Christmas. Tricky if you dine alone!
  • Finland:
    Traditional Christmas dinner will be a casserole of macaroni, rutabaga, carrot and potato, with ham or turkey. A mixed platter of meat and fish is also popular. After the meal it is traditional to have a sauna and then to visit the graves of relatives.
  • Germany:
    Roast Goose is the favoured Christmas meal, accompanied by potatos, cabbage, carrots, parsnip and pickles. The meal is usually eaten on Christmas Eve. Rural southern Germany feast on game like wild boar and venison.
  • Greenland:
    The Christmas feast may include Little Auks, (these are seabirds that are a bit like Penguins), wrapped in sealskin and buried for months until decomposed. Yum Yum!
  • Italy:
    Christmas lunch can run to seven course including antipasto, a small portion of pasta, roast meat, two salads, two sweet puddings followed by cheese, fruit, brandy and chocolates. Phew!
  • Jamaica:
    The traditional Christmas dinner is rice, gungo peas, chicken, ox tail and curried goat.
  • Latvia:
    Christmas Dinner is cooked brown peas with bacon sauce, small pies, cabbage and sausage.
  • Norway:
    The Christmas meal is eaten on Christmas Eve and for coastal regions is traditionally cod, haddock and lutefisk. Inland pork chops, Christmas meatloaf and special sausages are eaten. Farmers leave a bowl of nisse (gruel) in barns on Christmas Eve for the magic Gnome who protects their farms.
  • Portugal:
    A special Christmas meal is salted dry cod-fish with boiled potatoes eaten at midnight on Christmas Eve.
  • Russia:
    Christmas food includes cakes, pies and meat dumplings. The mythical Babouschka is enjoying a resurgence following the ban under Communism. She brings gifts to Russian children rather than Santa Claus.
  • South Africa:
    Christmas is during the hot summer season but the traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings is eaten at Christmas.
  • Sweden:
    A Smorgasbord Christmas meal eaten on Christmas Eve includes varieties of shellfish, pork, cooked and raw herring fish, caviar, cheeses and brown beans.
  • Ukraine:
    Huge meat broths are eaten on Christmas Eve after which children await "Father Frost" to bring presents.
  • United Kingdom:
    Christmas Pudding and Mince Pies are top grub. The largest Christmas Pudding weighed 7,231 pounds (3.28 tonnes) and was made at Aughton, Lancashire on 11 July 1992. The largest Mince Pie weighed 2,260 pounds (1.02 tonnes) and measured 6.1m X 1.5m. It was baked in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire on 15 October 1932. Sadly the Pie was destroyed in a German air raid when the pilot of a Stuka dive-bomber mistook it for a train. (Actually, that last bit is untrue - but it could have happened...)
  • USA:
    Christmas lunch is often in small town and rural America goose, turkey, a variety of vegetables, squash, and pumpkin pie are traditionally eaten . The USA has such a range of immigrant cultures that just about every type of food is eaten someplace at Christmas.

Christmas Drinks:

  • Champagne is a traditional Christmas tipple and millions of bottles of bubbly are enjoyed every year. Scientists calculate that there are 49 million bubbles in a bottle of Champagne. This must be true as scientists never make mistakes or lie.
  • Around the World special Christmas Beers are made by Brewers. These are usually dark, sweet brews of exceptional strength and flavour and especially suitable for drinking in extreme cold weather conditions and office parties.
  • Mulled wine, (Gluhwein), is a popular Christmas drink in Austria, Switzerland and Germany. It contains red wine, fruit, cloves and cinnamon and is served hot by street vendors at Christmas Fairs, (Weihnachtmarkt). It is also sold during the ski season on the slopes of many European resorts.

Source: HungryMonster Staff Writers.