Christmas is the feast of love and is a real party wherever you are. We look forward to the many colorful Christmas markets and the conviviality. What we also instinctively connect with the Christmas season is the food. The origin is related to the winter solstice, which was a very special event since the Middle Ages. This is the longest night of the year. Every year this event takes place on the night of the 21st to the 22nd of December. From then on the nights were again shorter and the days longer.
The long darkness of the people at that time caused much anxiety, probably also by the long cold. This is why it was thought earlier that, particularly at this time, the world is haunted by spirits, and they are transported over the animals. In order to protect their own animals, the animals were reproduced from dough in the winter time and sacrificed to the ghosts. Presumably, the truth about the emergence of cookies is a bit in all the stories.
Earlier, it was not so easy for people to get through the winter, so boiled sauerkraut, dried fruit, stored potatoes, threshing flour and salted meat were used. It was only through various preservation possibilities that food could be preserved. So, as with the animals, a few grease reserves had to be eaten so as not to become too thin. Biscuits and cookies contain a lot of fat. So it was an ideal winter food.
The origin of the biscuits at Christmas time, also originated in the Middle Ages. At that time, sugar and spices were very expensive, so many people could not afford it. The well-of people distributed the cookies to the poor in the Christmas season in order to give them a little joy. This could also be an explanation for the fact that until today we are baking our cookies in the form of animals.
Sharing a warm family meal at Christmas is common across the world. However, the Christmas menu is not identical from one country to another. Each place and the region in general, has its own typical Christmas recipes and specialties where sometimes the fish is the spotlight, whereas elsewhere the meat is obligatorily on the menu. As for desserts, each place competes with its own flavors. While the Middle Ages started with fruit and salads, then came biscuits, cheese, sweets and jams but all with one common denominator of the use of spices and sugar. But it is clear in those days there was community pagan feasts. Christmas as we remember, came thereafter.
The Christmas cake par excellence is the Yule Log, a soft dough rolled up and covered with cream or chocolate and decorated so as to look like a small block of wood. This cake boasts and ancient origins with each bite will tell you about this legend. For the longest night of the year, an enormous log was burned, but not just any one. She must have a notion of sacredness. On the day of the solstice, a little wine or oil was turned upside down as an offering. The log was placed in the foyer by the elder and the younger of the house, a symbol of the family and the transmission. There was a whole ceremony. According to the beliefs, it should be burnt only during Christmas night or the period of solstice celebrations, to counteract the evil spirits.
Since these symbols are similar throughout the world, it can be estimated that this spread thanks to the Indo-European populations, since middle-ages with certain customs were still in force before the 1950s, when Christmas became uniform. There was a foreshadowing side to the significance of this ritual. A log of oak or fruit tree was often used, as these woods are perfect for making sparks. It was believed that the higher were the sparks, the better was the year to come with good harvests, few droughts or floods.
People were reassured by small signs like these. However there was also a protector side. In winter, the house is barricaded because of the cold. It remains that open link to the sky that is the chimney. Now, night has always frightened us and it belongs to the ghosts and to the supernatural creatures, according to the civilizations. The log is a symbol of both ancestors and descendants to come. Similarly, Christmas cookies, were sharp to protect witchcraft and repel bad luck.
The yule cake arrived around 1870s. Previously, Christmas desserts were very rich in ingredients such as mince pies and pudding in the UK, the stollen in Germany or the panettone in Italy. Raisins were mostly put, which is well preserved. It was the announcement of a prosperous future as dried fruits are symbols of fertility. The ancient sweet refers to the tradition of the Yule log, particularly widespread in Northern Europe but also known in Greece, Portugal and Spain.
Legend has it that on the eve of solstice. the family head burnt a piece of wood in the fireplace. The trunk, ideally, was to continue burning till the end of the celebratory period. The remains of the stump, which went completely preserved were attributed magical properties and propitiatory, as to favor the harvest and livestock, as well as the fertility of women and animals.
There is no Christmas log without the dough biscuit, a soft surface that is cooked for a few minutes, sometimes flavored with cocoa, which thanks to being thin and elastic lends itself well to being rolled up. If tradition had it that the filling was made with jam, it is now more common to find the most rich and luscious fillings from creams and ganache with cocoa, chocolate or coffee for example. The variants, now, are innumerable, ranging from those salty for example with salmon and cream cheese, with ham and soft cheese with tuna and Robiola, the sweet drifts with hazelnut cream and cocoa, white chocolate, flavored with coconut or orange or tangerine and rum.
Christmas Recipes around the World
German Christmas Recipes
The Christmas Eve in Germany is very festive. For a long time, the pork has been the main dish of the family meals, a tradition in remembrance of the boar once sacrificed to the god of war, Wotan. Many sweet cakes and breads are made in the shape of a pig for Christmas. Today, more than turkey, it is the roasted or stuffed goose that is cooked, accompanied by spicy fruits and vegetables and preceded by charcuterie and other grilled sausages.
One of the German culinary customs for Christmas is to prepare the house of a witch made up of cakes and sweets. Throughout the month of December, the Germans cook delicious little shortbreads, in the form of stars, fir trees or Santa Claus, which exhale perfumes of cinnamon, anise, cardamom, clove and vanilla. Children who help parents with the preparation, cut the dough using shapes, and decorate them with icing sugar or by passing a layer of melted chocolate on them.
The Christstollen is the traditional Christmas cake, the equivalent of the log. Originally from Dresden, it has an elongated bread shape and the consistency of a cake. It contains candied fruits, raisins, spices, rum, almond paste, all covered with icing sugar. The shape of this cake dates from the Middle Ages.
Austrian Christmas Recipes
On the evening of the 24th, the meal of the Austrians is often light, cold or fish-based. On the other hand, there are many delicacies which are in an extraordinary variety of small biscuits. All homes prepare multiple biscuits according to family recipes or innovations guided by the inspiration of the moment. Forms and recipes are varied. The Christmas lunch is richer. Family and friends gather around a hearty dish like a turkey or a capon.
Belgian Christmas Recipes
Belgians often choose a turkey or a goose for their Christmas meal. It is customary to taste, according to the region, cougnous or cougnolles, delicious little cookies but also boukètes, pancakes with buckwheat flour with apples. Speculoos, gingerbread biscuits in the shape of characters, are also found in Belgium.
Bulgarian Christmas Recipes
Frugal and vegetarian, the meal is in seven, nine or twelve dishes. Seven corresponds to the seven days of the week, nine represents the months of pregnancy, and twelve the months of the year. The carefully prepared bread is called bogova pita, which is a kind of round fougasse and with forms. A coin is inserted in some parts of Bulgaria. The person who finds this piece is believed to receive a lot of happiness. Inside the pita, you can put spruce or as many small papers as the number of participants, and on which a small message of wishes of happiness and good health is written.
Croatian Christmas Recipes
On Christmas Eve croats do not eat meat but prepare fish and mainly dried cod based dishes of either brandade or brodet, made with white wine sauce. On the 25th, meat and turkey are eaten with the Mlinci, a pasta, specialty of the region of Zagreb, pašticada (beef cooked in red wine), sarmas (stuffed cabbage), donuts Grapes, krostule (traditional Christmas fritters, finely knotted, fried and sprinkled with icing sugar), as well as dried figs and walnuts.
For dessert, cakes are made with walnuts, figs or carob, as well as fritulas, paprenjaci (cakes with pepper) and medenjaci qui fill the house with a good smell of cinnamon. Let us also mention the Croatian Kuglof which does not resemble its Alsatian namesake. It is a nutcake and iced egg poppy, surmounted for the occasion with a candle and a branch of fir.
Danish Christmas Recipes
In all the Danish houses, it is a pleasure as much as a duty to cook an incredible variety of sweets and Christmas delicacies. The Christmas meal is often organized around a centerpiece such as turkey. Herring is served as an appetizer and a quantity of small biscuits for dessert in Denmark.
Spanish Christmas Recipes
Before Christmas, the houses are full of delicacies always ready to treat visitors. Mantecados, polvorones, roscos (wine biscuits) are offered to friends invited to drink with a glass of Malaga or other sweetness. La nochebuena on the 24th evening is a family celebration dinner. Culinary traditions vary from one province to another but the meal menu is almost always the same with lamb roast, turkey and seafood. The meal usually ends before midnight as it is customary to go attend the midnight mass.
Christmas confectionery is a must in Spain, like the Turron, which is a kind of nougat. From December 22 to January 6, in every house a tray is filled with these confections offered to each visitor. The grapes are also very coveted because it is customary to think that they bring luck for the coming year. Formerly, in the Spanish villages, there was a custom to offer to the neighbor a wicker basket filled with good local produce of almonds, olive oil, chorizo and dried fruits.
Today, during the festive period, shops offer baskets topped with the best craft products of the country. These Cestas de Navidad are generally composed of Cava, sparkling Catalonia, frozen chestnuts from Galicia, asparagus from Navarra, ham from Andalusia, Manchego and sheep cheese from Castile.
Estonian Christmas Recipes
Estonians traditionally cook a Christmas meal of pork with sauerkraut and potatoes, pig's head, black and white pudding, beetroot soup and pâté. For dessert, Estonians eaten gingerbread and cookies called piparkoogid cinnamon and cocoa as well as red fruit tarts.
Finnish Christmas Recipes
Finnish Christmas recipes are based on fish and essentially cod fillet dried and salted cod. The meat does not lack even the Finnish wood and everything is accompanied by traditional boiled potatoes. The traditional Finnish meal consists of rice porridge, milk cod, Baltic herring in various sauces, raw fish and voluminous 8-10 kg ham, the king of the party. As a dessert, Finns enjoy star-shaped Christmas tarts, ubiquitous pastries throughout the Christmas season in Finland.
French Christmas Recipes
Traditionally, Christmas is the occasion to gather together for families around a hearty meal. Foie gras, oysters, snails and smoked salmon are often on the menu for the Christmas meal. The chestnut turkey is the traditional French dish of Christmas Eve. As for the desserts, the French are fond of the Christmas log. In Provence, the ritual of 13 desserts continues to exist. There is the traditional bread with olive oil flavored with citrus zests called oil pump, local confectionery and pastries such as the famous calissons of Aix, black and white nougat, candied fruits, fresh and dry grapes, almonds, figs and hazelnuts.
In Alsace, pastry is a must for centuries. The cakes are of all shapes, the Christolles, illustrate the themes and characters of Christmas. The Mannele is plaited like pretzels. Since the sixteenth century, Saint-Nicolas is still offered gingerbread, scented with cinnamon, cardamom, almonds and honey. The believers go to church to attend midnight mass. The 25 is a public holiday but unlike other European countries, the French work on 26 December.
Greek Christmas Recipes
The Christmas meal marks for the Greeks the end of a long period of fasting for 40 days during which they manifested their faith. In some areas, Christmas is synonymous with sobriety with a few grenades and honey are placed in the center of the table. A meal brings together the whole family to celebrate Christmas around traditional specialties such as galopoula (turkey stuffed with chestnuts and walnuts or almonds) accompanied by baked potatoes, gourounopoulo psito (young roasted piglet brushed with olive oil and cooked Oven) and melomacarona for dessert. The Greeks also prepare soft biscuits called kourabiedes for the holiday season.
Hungarian Christmas Recipes
Until recently, the Hungarians believed that the tablecloth that adorned the Christmas dinner table had magical powers. The next day, they used to carry the wheat grains before planting or to cover a sick. Today, if the custom is somewhat transformed, Hungarians always give special care to the Christmas tablecloth, cutlery and plates that will be used for the occasion. The tables are decorated with Christmas roses and thorny branches. The colors are neat. The red, green and white, the three colors of the Hungarian flag, are found in all decors.
The main dish of the Christmas dinner is the fish. If Hungarians are chosen to live, their vigorous movements in the water are reflected in the progression of the family in the coming year. Otherwise, it is its scales that symbolize prosperity. Even if the symbolic meaning of the dishes falls into disuse, each one keeps the tradition alive. Dessert is very often a Beigli with poppy and walnuts. The poppy used to symbolize union and marriage. The Hungarians read the future in walnut kernels.
Italian Christmas Recipes
Christmas here cannot be without the traditional Italian Panettone. There are many varieties and can be enjoyed in many ways filled with cream, topped with different sauces, covered with chocolate, etc. The Italians also taste the Pandoro, whose popularity closely follows that of Panettone. It is of more recent origin. Originally from Verona, it was manufactured for the first time a hundred years ago. For other desserts, there is also the Panforte or strong bread, small traditional delicacy native of Siena, in Tuscany.
Latvian Christmas Recipes
To be rich the following year, the Latvian tradition provides nine meals on Christmas day. But this rite is rarely followed today. The traditional Christmas dish in Latvia has long been the head of pig accompanied with boiled pearl barley. Now it is more common that the Christmas menu includes boiled gray peas with fried pieces of meat and fatty bacon, usually accompanied by sour or fermented milk. Pulled barley black pudding is another typical Christmas dish, which was popular at one time, because its curvature resembling a circle symbolized the solar year.
In western Latvia, skladu rauši (tarts filled with mashed potatoes and carrots) is a traditional snack at Christmas. The menu also includes carp, whose scales are placed in the pockets and in the portfolios, so that the new year brings wealth.
Lithuanian Christmas Recipes
The Christmas meal is called Kucios in Lithuania. It begins at nightfall when the stars appear in the sky. A white sheet is then placed on the table previously covered with straw. Hosts and bread are placed in the center of the table. The Lithuanians have twelve other dishes on the table but none is based on meat. They are traditionally fish, mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, beetroot soup, dried fruits. When all the dishes are placed on the table, the candles are lit and the meal can begin. For dessert, Lithuanians enjoy fruit jelly based on cranberries called Kissel and milk with poppy seeds and biscuits.
Luxembourg Christmas Recipes
The turkey and the hare stew are often the dishes tasted on the Christmas menu. After midnight, the people of Luxembourg share a family of black pudding with apples and potatoes. The Christmas Log is the most popular dessert.
Maltese Christmas Recipes
The evening meal is family friendly. Like the Maltese cuisine, the menu of Christmas is the fruit of many Mediterranean influences but also English, especially since the second world war. Roast turkey is often the main food and christmas cake, the main dessert in Malta. Throughout the period of Advent, the Maltese feast on delicacies such as donuts with honey or sesame, tasty cakes in the shape of rings. They also prepare country biscuits with lemon and spices.
Dutch Christmas Recipes
On 5 December, on the eve of Saint Nicholas, gifts are distributed to the children in Netherlands. On this occasion, the Dutch make the famous speculaas, biscuits with cinnamon in the image of the saint, cousins of the Belgian speculoos. Other delicacies accompany this celebration and is enjoyed until Christmas. The Dutch prepare a good meal on the evening of December 25th around a turkey, a goose or a hare.
Polish Christmas Recipes
The unleavened bread is prepared and shared among the guests, as a sign of conciliation on New Year's Eve. It is also used to cut or build decorations that decorate the interiors of houses. One thus finds, suspended from the fir tree or the ceiling, worlds, spatial structures constructed in unleavened bread in the form of terrestrial globe. The New Year's Eve meal usually does not include meat. On the other hand, it is abundant, consisting of 12 dishes and combines products from fields, orchards, forests and waters.
The traditional Polish Christmas menu includes cereals, mushroom soup, beetroot soup, pierozki (very simple stuffed pasta) and dessert, the traditional Makowiecki with poppy seeds. The traditional Christmas dish, in Poland, is called borsch. These are different boiled, smoked and jelly fish. From the 25th, the meat is consumed again. On Christmas Day, the Poles most often eat stuffed turkey. The dishes vary according to the region but some are recurring in most of the country: makowiec (cake with poppy seeds), barszcz (beet soup), prune cakes or traditional pierogi (pasta filled with cheese, Onions, cabbage, or meat). A kompot (juice obtained from macerated fruit) is also often served with twelve fruits in honor of the Apostles.
Portuguese Christmas Recipes
At the gastronomic level, the Portuguese Eve is not necessarily sumptuous. More than luxurious dishes or expensive products, the Christmas table is above all the opportunity to savor simple but tasty dishes, all imbued with tradition. The famous Bacalhau cozido (cod cooked with potatoes and cabbage and sprinkled with olive oil) is the Portuguese Christmas dish par excellence. If the dinner can be said to be copious, it is mainly because of the very important place made with desserts. In each house, an entire table is thus dedicated to them. According to tradition, this table of desserts will remain nourished during several days, to welcome all the relatives who come to offer their gifts and to present their vows.
In tribute to the participants of the Last Supper, the desserts presented are 13 in number. Among these sweets are fruits (oranges in particular), but especially the classics of the Portuguese pastry. Thanks to its Mediterranean climate, Portugal has always favored cakes, whose conservation feared little heat. Exit cream and fresh fruit, very little represented in Portuguese desserts. Place instead on rice, eggs, cinnamon, dried fruit and especially sugar. A little like the pastries of the Maghrebian cuisine, the lusitanian cakes and sweets show a very pronounced sweetness in portugal.
The next day, December 25, the guests meet again, this time to eat roast kid served with grelos, turnip greens. These shoots make up the green stem of the turnips, usually set aside. Little or not consumed in France, the grelos, whose taste a bit acrid, and especially the appearance, bring them closer to spinach, are on the other hand very appreciated, cooked in water, by the Portuguese. Inspite of everything, the Anglo-Saxon influence makes the turkey replaces the kid more and more often in certain households. It is true that a gallinaceous battery is far cheaper than any cabri.
Czech Christmas Recipes
December 24 is traditionally a day of fasting before the big meal of the 25. The legend says that only fasters can see the adorable little golden pig that walks among the stars that night. The dinner often consists of fish soup, breaded or fried carp and potato salad/raw vegetables and of course traditional Christmas cakes, many small pastries. The tradition is that we fish with the children, the carp Christmas! This is why many bins filled with water and live carp from the ponds of southern Bohemia appear in the city centers during the Christmas period. It is up to the children to choose the carp that will be eaten or often saved and set free in the ponds or rivers.
Romanian Christmas Recipes
The aperitif is composed of pork, cheese, ham and sausages. There are also eggplant, chicken and vegetable salads. The Christmas soup is made from chicken and pasta, or vegetables with meatballs ciorba from perisoare. For the dish, it is either pork or chicken, more generally baked with potatoes. The sarmale, mixture of meat and rice, is rolled in stuffed cabbage leaves, and with cream. For dessert, in addition to the everyday cakes, we make special Christmas cakes, the cozonaci.
English Christmas Recipes
The Christmas meal takes place on the 25th at noon. Traditionally a roast turkey is served, but some people prefer goose, goose, or roasted beef, roast beef. Each guest has on his plate a crackers. These are papers containing a firecracker that slams when you pull on both ends of the crackers to open it. Inside there is a small gift, a paper hat and a joke. At Christmas, the British devour thin pies, small fruit tartlets but Christmas Pudding is the typically English Christmas dessert. Pudding's recipes have been changed many times over the centuries.
Traditionally, cake preparation is begun five weeks before Christmas. A whole ritual accompanies the making of the Pudding: it is necessary to move with a wooden spoon (in homage to the crib where Jesus was born), in a clockwise direction (corresponding to the trip of the Magi to the West), all family members must attend, and with closed eyes each must make twelve vows (one for each month of the year) by lifting the dough three times. Then add special items to the preparation: a ring, a piece of 10 shillings in gold, a silver button, a thimble and a little pig.
Each surprise had a special meaning with the pig pointed to the gourmand, the piece predicted fortune, the ring announced the person who would marry in the year, the thimble was on the contrary intended for an old girl and the button, single. Finally, the preparation is wrapped in a tea towel for a few weeks until Christmas Day. The Pudding serves hot and topped with a branch of holly. Sometimes it is sprinkled with punch and flamed.
Slovakian Christmas Recipes
In Slovakia, the Christmas dinner is full of religious rituals. The meal traditionally begins with oplatky, a kind of flat waffle made in molds representing holy scenes. These typical waffles, shared and tasted with honey, are an integral part of the ritual. Formerly, in the villages, the waffles were made in one time on the eve of December 13 (feast of St. Lucia, patroness of light). Each household contributed a measure of flour. On the evening of December 24, they were blessed before being distributed by the children to each family.
The meal continues with a cabbage soup and mushrooms, then a fish. Indeed, as in many Eastern European countries, fasting on the 24th is still very important and care is taken not to eat meat on the evening of the 24th. The desserts consist of cupcakes or a biscuit with poppy seeds and gingerbread.
Slovenian Christmas Recipes
The kitchens are very lively in Slovenia at the approach of Christmas. It is customary to prepare bread and pastries with the three flours: wheat, rye and buckwheat. Each recipe is given a somewhat magical property to protect and preserve the future and the health of humans and animals.
Swedish Christmas Recipes
For a long time, Christmas menus differed between coastal fishermen and rural farmers. Today, it is less so. There is a traditional menu where almost everyone complies by bringing personal touches. The traditional Christmas meal in Sweden starts with the Smörgasbord: entries of marinated herring, liver pâté, smoked sausage, pork sausages, pork jelly, dumplings and anchovy gratin called Jansson's temptation. And especially a whole ham made with brine and boiled or roasted.
Next comes the Lutefisk, or Fish with laundry. It is actually a dried hake colored with soda lye to soften it. For dessert, they serve rice porridge, a kind of rice pudding with cinnamon, a Christmas dessert common to all of Scandinavia. The most typical is undoubtedly the Glögg, a spicy wine that is served only during the holidays with gingerbread, hot with raisins and almonds.
African Christmas Recipes
Between the traditional Christmas recipes in Africa, the most popular dish is followed by the turkey roasts of all kinds, suckling pig over a fire, yellow rice with grape, plum pudding and vegetables.
Australian Christmas Recipes
Here too turkey and pork are the main characters of the Christmas tables. For dessert definitely the most traditional is the Christmas pudding in which by tradition is hidden a golden peanut course that brings good luck to whoever finds it.
Alaskan Christmas Recipes
Between Christmas recipes in Alaska are the pancakes with maple syrup, smoked salmon and Piruk (fish cake).
Brazilian Christmas Recipes
Once again we find the roast turkey accompanied by colored rice and vegetable dishes.
If you fear the Christmas and Christmas Eve dinner or lunch on 25 for their load of calories, do not fear. This is the menu just to satisfy his throat without sacrificing comfort. Here you will find Indian Christmas Recipes and other recipes with natural ingredients, seasonal vegetables, low fat, healthy cooking for delicious dishes that have nothing to envy to the most elaborate dishes.
Gingerbread Cookies Recipe: https://goo.gl/RLVN8V
Peppermint Bark Recipe: https://goo.gl/DWoyPC
Chocolate Mousse Recipe: https://goo.gl/Dd1NVD
Apple Strudel Recipe: https://goo.gl/muagaW
Apple Juice Cider Recipe: https://goo.gl/sNvEru
Chocolate Cupcake Recipe: https://goo.gl/h4NZ3V
Black Forest Cake Recipe: https://goo.gl/HmLCP9
Banana Muffin Recipe: https://goo.gl/fqxYtp