Hot chocolate parties, chicken bone candy and keeping a live fish in the bath. Here's how the rest of the world celebrates Christmas with food
Forget Bisto, dry turkey and pungent Brussels sprouts; here are the other good, bad and ugly traditional foodie feasts happening across the rest of the world at Christmas. We're totally game for Brazil's champagne-marinated Christmas turkey …
In Italy, Christmas Eve is all about the Feast of the Seven Fishes: seven (surprise) fish dishes including fried eel and spaghetti with anchovies.
Slovakians love a thick sauerkraut soup and fried carp to get them feeling festive. In fact, the fish is such a fundamental part of the celebrations in eastern Europe that some families buy one alive and keep it in the bath until it’s ready to eat. Yep.
The good people of France’s Provence region have a foodie tradition we can definitely get on board with: 13 desserts. The sweet dishes are made at Christmas to honour Christ and the 12 apostles, and are usually grazed on throughout the festive period.
It’s pretty warm there in December, so Christmas dinner consists of lots of fish, cold meats and a nice big pavlova for dessert. No bickering over who gets the gravy first there.
In Mexico they celebrate with a feast of traditional stews, fish dishes, spicy tamales (maize flour filled with meat and steamed in a maize husk) and sweet fritters called buñuelos (fried dough balls). If the photo below is anything to go by, we’re in.
Two words: hot chocolate. The Peruvians love it, and at Christmas they hold events called chocolatadas where people in need are invited to enjoy a hot chocolate for free. That makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
No crackers or Christmas pudding in north America, but there’s plenty of pie. Apple, pumpkin, cranberry – we’ll take a slice of each please.
Some Russians fast on Christmas Eve until the first star appears in the sky. This all sounds very whimsical and sweet, but just how do they resist the Quality Streets? Once the stars are out, Russian families traditionally tuck into a feast including kutia, which is a sort of porridge topped with nuts, fruit and honey. Yum.
Turkey is eaten as part of a Christmas Eve feast called Ceia de Natal in Brazil. Traditionally served with white rice, the turkey is marinated in champagne and spices. Now that sounds like our kind of roast dinner.
In the UK we’ve got boxes of Cadbury’s Roses. In Canada they’ve got chicken bone candy! Apparently a Canadian Christmas favourite, these small pink cinnamon sweets with a soft chocolate centre have been produced by confectionery company Ganong for years (no actual chicken bones are used, though!).
It’s all about the stollen in Germany, a dense fruit cake with a swirl of marzipan through the middle. A great breakfast, snack and dessert.
Another fabulous cake, this is a bolo rei which translates as king cake. It's a ring-shaped sponge packed with nuts and beautifully decorated with crystallised fruit. If we were Beyoncé, this is the kind of ring we'd be singing about.
The starter on your Greek Christmas menu would be avgolemono: a lemon and chicken soup made with rice.
And finally, we've got janssons frestelse which is the Swedish equivalent to the British cauliflower cheese, grated or finely cut potatoes baked with anchovies. Immense.
Like this? Then try these:
- 10 Christmas trees made of food
- 7 Christmassy breakfasts for frantic mornings
- All the weird things we only ever eat at Christmas
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