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What does the rest of the world eat for Christmas?

Cesar Chavez once said ‘If you really want to make a friend, go to someone's house and eat with him… the people who give you their food give you their heart.’

Safeera Sarjoo
16th February 2016
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There’s nothing better than discovering new culinary delights that tantalises those taste buds. So when you have a holiday like Christmas fast approaching, you know people will be pushing the boat out when it comes to preparing the ultimate feast.

Although the sound of a roast dinner sounds divine on Christmas Day, have you ever considered a Christmas menu inspired by either another cuisine or your favourite holiday spot? After much talk about food, we’ve compiled a list of what people in 11 different countries eat for Christmas and the courses you need that will set you on your way to becoming a culinary sensation.

Prepare to drool.


Christmas Eve consists of a bigger celebration than Christmas Day and is very much a family affair. If you enjoy indulging in seafood, you can expect plenty of fish and shellfish to adorn a Spanish Christmas table. Dishes include artichokes and clams and pan grilled prawns. A main meal of lamb is also common as well as Turron, which is a type of nougat for dessert.  Taking a Spanish cooking course will teach you everything you need in order to transform your Christmas turkey into tapas.


Similar to Spain, the Christmas Eve meal is much more celebrated than Christmas Day. Though dishes vary from region to region, Italians believe in eating lean to help purify their bodies for the holiday. Christmas Eve dinner may consist of fish based antipasti such as insalata di mareodi polpo and various pastas depending on the region. Expect panettone and pandoro, which are sweet breads, for dessert – they always go down well. Learn everything you need to know about Italian cooking with one of our many Italian cooking courses.


Middle Eastern cuisine has really taken the UK by storm and this element of family and sharing runs deep within their culinary culture. In Egypt people celebrate Christmas with a lavish meal called ‘Fata.’ This consists of bread, rice, garlic and boiled meat, which is served and eaten after their Christmas service ends at midnight. Become a master in popular Middle Eastern dishes such tabbouleh and hummus.


During Christmas a thick and spicy stew is served called ‘wat’ which contains meat, vegetables and sometimes eggs. This is eaten on a plate of injera, which is also known as flat bread. Pieces of injera is also used as an edible spoon to scoop up the ‘wat.’


Unlike the UK and America, goose is the preferred meat for a Russian Christmas surrounded by lots of different salads. Some of these salads include Vinegret, a beetroot salad and Olivier, another popular salad, which is also popular in other parts of the world. It is made with diced boiled potatoes, vegetables, eggs, meat and mayonnaise.


Considering India was part of the British colony until 1947, there are a number of British traditions still in India. This includes going to church and distributing sweets and cakes to their neighbours. Christian communities will have pork dishes as part of their Christmas dinner while other popular dishes such as biryani, lamb or mutton curry will be served. You can’t have an Indian Christmas without an abundance of sweets and Bebinca is a popular type of pudding that is enjoyed during this time. If you’ve been looking to specialise in a particular cuisine you can learn more about the abundance of flavours, colours and dishes Indian cooking has to offer on Training and Courses.  


Caribbean Christmases are one filled with plenty of food and like many other countries, is a huge family affair. Those mouth watering flavours we’re all use to is still very prevalent during Christmas with curried duck, rice and peas and a delicious stuffed red snapper, which is a common fish in the Caribbean. Other countries in the Caribbean indulge in Pepperpot on Christmas Day for breakfast. A stewed meat dish, it is flavoured with cinnamon and cassareep, which is a special sauce made from cassava root, and is eaten with bread. Add another tantalising cuisine to your list with a course in Caribbean cooking for Christmas.


Mexicans enjoy a Christmas Eve dinner with traditional stews and fish dishes, spicy tamales (corn dough pastries) and sweet fritters called buñelos. You also know that Christmas is in the air when bacalao a la vizcaina  is served. This is a colourful dish that includes salted cod that has been dried with potatoes, tomatoes, onions, olives, capers and bright bell peppers. This is made in large quantities not just because families gather together during Christmas time, but they also open doors to people who have no family in the area as well.


Christmas Eve is celebrated before or after the late night mass. Codfish and turkey are the main dishes during this feast. Turkey is served with white rice flavoured with walnuts. Also served is potato salad with apples and raisins. Brazilian Christmas tables are decorated with tropical fruits, particularly bananas, watermelon and pineapples. For sweet treats Rabanada, which is a type of French toast is served with cinnamon sugar.


In Thailand Christmas is very much a social affair, without the traditional dinner we’re use to. Though families gather together, friends coming together are far more common where they eat out. If they choose to dine in, their meal consists of a hot pot that is placed in the middle of the table where everyone cooks meat, seafood and veggies for themselves and everyone else. It’s a very interactive feast where everyone gets involved. For dessert, a big cake is made from slices of different cakes. Everyone is able to tuck in and try the assortment of cakes picked out. We love the sharing element Thai cuisine offers and our courses in Thai cooking will allow you to add another dimension to your range of culinary skills.  


Christmas in Venezuela is one of the most colourful in Latin America and the world. There are three items that you’ll find on a Venezuelan menu at Christmas; Hallacas, which are parcels of beef, pork and chicken, capers, olives and raisins that are wrapped in maize and then plantain leaves and boiled until cooked. Pan de Jamon is another common item. This is a type of bread that's made with puff pastry, filled up with ham, raisins, olives and bacon and shaped like a swiss roll and Pernil, which is translates to a leg of pork. 

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