Everyone is familiar with the festive fare that makes our Christmas supper one of the most looked-forward to meals of the year. Roast turkey; Yorkshire puddings; Brussels Sprouts; Stuffing; Kilted Sausages; Roast Potatoes; all topped off with seasonal vegetables, lashings of gravy and a kind helping of cranberry sauce.
But have you ever wondered what adorns the yuletide platters of our worldwide neighbours on Christmas day? It’s not all turkey you know.
In Australia Christmas is notable at the height of summer, so there is no such thing to an Australian as a white Christmas! Whilst for many years our friends down under followed the English model of the turkey dinner, albeit served with the climatic characteristic gauge hitting more than 30 degrees, it has since come to be more practical with the Christmas picnic of seafood, cold meats, pastas, salads and ice cream taking over and of course, the Aussie outdoor favourite: the barbeque.
In Brazil, again at the height of the summer season, a sizeable Christmas supper is enjoyed consisting of turkey and ham, multi-coloured rice and vegetable and fruit dishes.
Christmas supper in Mexico varies throughout separate states. In some areas Mexicans tuck into beef or pork stews called Pozole whilst others indulge in something with a bit more heat such as Hominy which is made with red chili sauce. In some states the favoured dish is one of fruits, vegetables and nuts.
The United States seems to have adopted many of our Christmas cuisine customs with turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce the first selection for the Christmas table. Any way as turkey is the American favourite for Thanksgiving, beef or ham is sometimes the preference for the Christmas meal.
Moving over to Europe, the French enjoy a customary Yule log cake and this is served as part of an abundant Christmas meal, the focal point of which varies in the middle of provinces and could be whatever from turkey stuffed with chestnuts in Burgundy to goose in Alsace or oysters in Paris. After some forty days of fasting, the habitancy of Greece enjoy a mammoth feast of pork and extra handcrafted bread that is engraved with an image depicting the profession of the house who make it.
In the Czech Republic, potato salad and fried carp make up the customary Christmas meal.
The Spanish habitancy get stuck into their Christmas supper on the night of Christmas Eve. It’s a feast of turkey stuffed with chestnuts, pork and other meats and lots of vegetables and potato dishes. Once they have had their fill, families sing carols around the Christmas tree before setting off for Midnight Mass.
In Holland, festive dinners are probably more separate than in any place else in the world.
The Dutch ‘gourmet’ event, which probably originates from Indonesia, involves the party host preparing a selection of fish, shellfish, meat and vegetables for each of their guests to cook in their preferred way using their own personal frying pan and selection of seasoning. More customary style Christmas dinners are also becoming beloved too with ham, rabbit, duck, beef or pheasant being the meats of choice.
Wherever you are in the world at Christmas, you are bound to enjoy a festive feast on Christmas day. But what will it be?