Christmas Dinners Around the World: A Feast of Festive Flavors

As we deck the halls with boughs of holly and the sound of jingle bells fill the air, there’s one thing on everyone’s mind during the holiday season – Christmas dinner! This festive feast is a cornerstone of Christmas celebrations, and it’s fascinating to see how different cultures around the world bring their unique twist to the table. Let’s embark on a culinary journey to explore the diverse and delicious Christmas dinners from various corners of the globe.

United Kingdom: A Classic Roast

In the UK, Christmas dinner is synonymous with a grand roast. The centerpiece is usually a succulent roast turkey, accompanied by stuffing, roasted potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and the beloved Yorkshire pudding. Don’t forget the cranberry sauce and lashings of rich gravy! The meal is traditionally rounded off with a rich, fruity Christmas pudding, often flambéed with brandy and served with brandy butter or cream.

Christmas Dinners Around the World: United Kingdom: A Classic Roast
Image by Sue Hammond

Italy: Feast of the Seven Fishes

In Italy, particularly in the South, Christmas Eve is celebrated with the “Feast of the Seven Fishes.” This meal includes seven different seafood dishes, symbolizing the number seven in the Bible. Expect a tantalizing array of seafood such as calamari, shrimp, scallops, and various fish, prepared in various styles, from grilled to pasta dishes. It’s a true delight for seafood lovers!

Christmas Dinners Around the World: Italy: Feast of the Seven Fishes
Image by Debora Smail

Australia: A Barbecue Christmas

Down under in Australia, where December is summertime, Christmas dinner often takes a more relaxed and outdoor approach with a barbecue. Grilled seafood like prawns and lobsters, along with traditional meats like lamb or beef, are popular choices. This is often enjoyed with cold salads, beer, and wine, reflecting the warm holiday weather.

Christmas Dinners Around the World: Australia: A Barbecue Christmas
Image by RecipeTin Eats

Germany: Roast Goose and Red Cabbage

In Germany, the star of the Christmas dinner is often a roast goose, stuffed with apples, chestnuts, onions, and prunes, and served with red cabbage, dumplings, and gravy. This hearty meal is a nod to Germany’s rich culinary traditions and is often followed by Stollen, a fruit bread filled with marzipan, for dessert.

Christmas Dinners Around the World: Germany: Roast Goose and Red Cabbage
Image by Taste of Home

Japan: Kentucky Fried Chicken

A unique Christmas tradition that has emerged in Japan is enjoying Kentucky Fried Chicken as the Christmas meal. This trend began in the 1970s and has since become a widespread practice, with families ordering their KFC Christmas meals weeks in advance. It’s a modern twist on Christmas dining that has captured the hearts of many in Japan.

Christmas Dinners Around the World: Japan: Kentucky Fried Chicken
Image by KFC Japan

Mexico: Tamales and Ponche

In Mexico, Christmas dinner often features tamales, a traditional Mesoamerican dish made of masa or dough, filled with meats, cheeses, fruits, or vegetables, and wrapped in a cornhusk. They are often accompanied by a warm, fruit-filled punch called Ponche Navideño, a delightful blend of seasonal fruits and spices.

Christmas Dinners Around the World: Mexico: Tamales and Ponche
Image by Nibbles & Feasts

Philippines: Lechon

In the Philippines, Christmas is celebrated with a feast centered around Lechon, a whole roasted pig. This dish is a staple at festive occasions and is known for its crispy skin and tender meat. It is often served with a liver-based sauce and is accompanied by a variety of other Filipino dishes.

Christmas Dinners Around the World: Philippines: Lechon
Image by Riverten Kitchen

From the classic roast in the UK to the unique KFC tradition in Japan, Christmas dinners around the world showcase the rich diversity of culinary traditions. Each country brings its own flavor to the table, making Christmas a truly global celebration of taste and joy. So, no matter where you are this Christmas, embrace the festive spirit, explore new flavors, and most importantly, enjoy the company of loved ones around the dinner table. Happy holidays and bon appétit! 


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