Centuries before the birth of Christ, mankind celebrated the winter solstice with special traditions, lively festivals and – of course – celebratory foods. With the advent of Christmas, many of those traditions and feasts combined for one very special event each year on December 25. In the weeks leading up to Christmas Day, families and friends will share a number of merry meals where a spirit of togetherness is the main course. While we have our own favorite dishes here in the United States to grace our holiday tables, it’s fun to take a look at how other countries celebrate Christmas through food…
Australia: Prawns – While, for the most part, a Christmas table in Australia may seem similar to one you might find in the U.S. – like Christmas ham with cranberries and baked apples – another popular Australian Christmas tradition is to serve barbecued shrimp.
Bulgaria: Kolivo – Similar to a pudding, this boiled wheat and sugar concoction is often enhanced with ingredients like walnuts, honey, cinnamon, poppyseeds, dried fruit and more.
Costa Rica: Tamales – While every family has their own special recipe, tamales feature a vessel of steamed corn dough, wrapped in a corn husk, and then stuffed with pork, beef or chicken paired with garlic, onion, potatoes, or raisins.
England: Figgy Pudding – A compilation of flour, suet, egg, molasses, spices, and dried fruits – like figs, figgy pudding is often steamed, then doused in brandy and set alight before it is served.
Finland: Joulupöytä – Unlike the nibbles you might find on a charcuterie board, this Finnish tradition turns the whole table into a smorgasbord that often showcases ham, fish, a wide variety of casseroles, salads, tarts, gingerbread and rice pudding.
France: Bûche de Noël – Translated as the Yule Log, this unique sponge cake is filled AND topped with chocolate buttercream frosting and rolled to look like a log.
Germany: Weihnachtsgans – Christmas goose seasoned with mugwort and marjoram and stuffed with apples, chestnuts, onions, and prunes.
Greece: Melomakarona – Similar in flavor to baklava, these traditional Christmas cookies are often seasoned with orange zest, soaked in a honey and sugar water blend, and then rolled in chopped walnuts.
Italy: Panettone – Filled with candied fruit, chocolate, raisins, and nuts. this sweet Christmas bread has been likened to America’s fruitcake. As for the main courses, those are often regionally tied. In some regions, they celebrate the Feast of the Seven Fishes and serve seven different kinds of fish, such as baccalà (salted cod) and calamari (squid). In others, they may serve roasted lamb or poultry as the main dish.
Japan: Karaage – Fried chicken – which is often surrounded on the Christmas table by vibrantly colored salads, wine and a Japanese take on strawberry shortcake.
Lithuania: Kūčios – This twelve-dish Christmas Eve feast traditionally takes as long as a week to prepare and showcases dishes like herring served in a tomato or onion-based sauce, smoked eel, potatoes, sauerkraut, mushrooms, bread pudding and more.
Mexico: Barcaloa – Salted codfish stew showcasing a flavorful blend of tomatoes, ancho chiles, onions, cinnamon, potato and olives.
Phillippines: Lechón – This whole spit-roasted pig is often the main course on Christmas tables, served alongside spring rolls, pasta and fruit salad.
Poland: Kołaczki – These Christmas cookies feature a dough made with sour cream or cream cheese that is pressed flat, filled with raspberry or apricot jam, folded and sprinkled in powdered sugar.
Sweden: Julbord – This three-course Christmas meal features a starter of pickled herring and cold cuts. The main course is often meatballs with Janssons frestelse – a rich potato casserole. Dessert represents the final course, and traditionally features sweet saffron buns.
Here in the U.S., many Christmas tables are laden with foods that bring us both comfort and cheer like turkey, pork, beef and a wide variety of sides. If cooking is not your forte or you simply wish to make the holidays a little easier on you so you can devote your attention to your guests, we invite you to tap into the talents of Woody’s Bar-B-Q.
Not only can we smoke an entire turkey for you, but we can also help you design a meal that includes items like slow-smoked sliced pork, beef brisket, a wide variety of sides like mashed potatoes & gravy and macaroni & cheese, a whole Sky-High pie for dessert and so much more. While our locations will not be open on Christmas Day, you can pick up your order ahead of time and we’ll provide you with reheating instructions so your ready to shine by Christmas supper time. We can also help supply the menu for any Christmas-themed gatherings you have planned in the days leading up to the big day. Visit www.Woodys.com to find the location near you and view our menu.
From all of us here at Woody’s Bar-B-Q, we wish you and yours a Happy Holiday Season!