Christmas: 5 traditional dishes served in Europe

by Destination(s) Europe

📌 Read in / Lire en : Français (French)

It’s almost Christmas! Finally, you say to yourself! You will be able to sit around the table with your family, in a friendly and loving atmosphere. But one question is already nagging you: what should I serve on New Year’s Eve or Christmas Day? In Europe, traditional dishes depend on the country, or even the region in which one is located. In this article, you will learn about five traditional Christmas dishes from five different countries in Europe.

Fairyland in EuropeIf you are looking for an idea to spend the end of the year holidays around a splendid Christmas tree, we have listed the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe in this article.

Denmark and its roast duck

Denmark celebrates Christmas with great enthusiasm. The traditional Christmas meal is served on December 24th and consists of roast duck, goose or pork, served with red cabbage, potatoes and lots of sauce. This meal is often washed down with a tall glass of Gløgg or a traditional Christmas beer, brewed for the occasion.

The dessert consists of rice pudding, with an almond hidden inside. Usually, the person who finds it receives a special gift called “the almond gift” (find the recipe here).

(Credit: cyclonebill – Culottesteg med kartofler / CC)

Iceland and its smoked lamb

The main festive meal in Iceland takes place on New Year’s Eve. An example of traditional Christmas dishes? The “hangikjöt”, smoked lamb, mutton or horse meat, usually served in hot or cold slices with potatoes in bechamel sauce and peas. However, it can also be served with bread. Dessert consists of spicy and sweet rice pudding.

Italy and its very… piggy Christmas 

Christmas is by far the most important holiday of the year in Italy, with festivities running from December 24th to January 6th. It’s the perfect opportunity to get together as a family, with large gatherings that allow you to spend a lot of time together. In the Italian tradition, Christmas Eve is when delicious foods such as fried eels are served.

On Christmas Day (or New Year’s Eve), there is often “Zampone” on the table. This traditional Christmas dish features stuffed pig’s trotters, often served with lentils. Some serve “Cotechino”: minced pork seasoned with a variety of herbs and spices.

Zampone Alla Lenticchio (Credit: Alpha / Flickr / CC)

France and its roasts

There are many specialities served in France at Christmas. Usual dishes can range from roast duck, goose or turkey stuffed with chestnuts or smoked salmon, oysters, or lobster, drizzled with a glass of champagne.

The “yule log” is the traditional Christmas dessert. It is a kind of cream cake, with or without frosting, in the shape of a wooden log available in different flavours. We found (and tested) a very good recipe here.

In England, salmon and turkey

Here is another country where Christmas is a sacred time, and where the Christmas meal is just as important. Scottish salmon is usually served as a starter. Then, as a main course, there is a turkey in gravy sauce, sometimes stuffed with chestnuts.

You will probably find potatoes on the side, and carrots and Brussels sprouts. The English also often make “Christmas pudding”, a flavourful cake made with bread crumbs and dried fruits.

Do you have any other examples of traditional Christmas dishes served in Europe? Tell us about them in the comments.

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