There are some amazing and unusual dishes eaten around the world to celebrate Christmas. We have rounded up 10 festive foods eaten in other countries.
Think of Christmas food and your mind is instantly flooded with images of turkey, mince pies and, of course, sprouts!
You have probably tried German stollen or Italian panettone, but what do other countries eat to mark their festive feast?
For instance, if you’re in the Land of the Rising Sun, the Japanese head to KFC as they love nothing better than some fried chicken to celebrate Christmas.
Here we have rounded up 10 of the festive foods that people enjoy all over the world to help celebrate Yuletide.
Australia – Barbecue
First off, has to be Australia.
While we are all wrapping up warm as we roast our chestnuts on an open fire, many Aussies are down the beach having a barby mate!
King prawns, steaks and crayfish are just three of the amazing things that they will enjoy, accompanied by a cold beer or a glass of wine.
However, some Australians do prefer a European approach to Christmas Day, enjoying a roast dinner of turkey, pork or ham – with salad and, of course, beer and wine.
Germany – Stollen
A fruit cake which, at first, looks like it might be rather dry, stollen is anything but – it’s a taste sensation.
Packed with any kind of dried fruit you wish, such as raisins – or this time of the year, cranberries – nuts, spices and marzipan, Weihnachtsstollen or Christstollen dates back to the 15th Century when it was originally a Christmas gift.
Poland – Borscht
Borscht, or beetroot soup, is traditionally eaten around Christmas time in Poland. Popular on Christmas Eve which is when Polish people enjoy their main festive feast, it can be served hot or cold.
Christmas Eve is a day of fasting in Poland before a sumptuous 12-course dinner is enjoyed with borscht as the starter. Other courses include, potato salad, pickled herring, mushroom soup and dumplings. The feasting normally starts with the appearance of the first star in the sky.
Italy – Panettone
Panettone is an Italian classic and an absolute joy. A sweet bread, families will tear and share the panettone which can be made with raisins, sultanas and candied peel.
Having originated in Milan, panettone is not only enjoyed in Italy, it is also popular other parts of Europe, Latin America, Australia and the United States.
Italian families will enjoy the bread all the way through their Christmas break and if, like me, you have bought one for your own home, you can see why. I will warn you, though, it never lasts long!
Mexico – Three Kings Cake
They won’t be tucking into anything special on December 25 in Mexico as they don’t celebrate Christmas until January 6 which is known as Epiphany, celebrated 12 days after Christmas Day, or El Dia de los Reyes – the day of The Three Kings.
On the morning, as happens here in Scotland, children receive presents which are under their tree or under a nativity scene before the feasting begins.
One of the festive foods, Mexicans love to make is Three Kings Cake – or Twelfth Night Cake. A figure of the baby Jesus is hidden inside the cake and the person lucky enough to find it becomes the “godparent” of Jesus for the year.
Spain – Jamon and Turron
The stars of the show for a Spanish Yuletide celebration are Jamon, a dry-cured ham which proudly sits at the top of the table.
However, everyone loves the turron to follow, a nougat made from honey, sugar, egg whites and almonds and is regarded as a particularly special Christmas treat.
Of Moorish (Arabic) origin and believed to have first been made more than 500 years ago, it has been a popular sweet for centuries, even outside Spain’s borders. There are two main varieties: the hard one – also known as “turrón de Alicante” – and the soft one or “turron de Jijona” – named after where it was first made in Jijona, 30 miles from Alicante.
Russia – Sochivo
In Russia, many people will fast on Christmas Eve or Sochelnik until the first star appears in the sky before then treating themselves to a bowl of sochivo which is a porridge.
Made from wheat or rice, the porridge also contains fruit, seeds, nuts and honey, and symbolises unity for the family.
In years gone by, a spoonful would be thrown on to the ceiling and if it stuck the family would enjoy a bountiful harvest and good luck in the year ahead.
Greece – Baklava
I simply had to include this having recently been fortunate enough to try some that Lidl are stocking.
After enjoying a roast of lamb or pork, the Greeks serve up baklava which is made with sweet filo pastry, nuts and honey or syrup. It’s simple but incredible and I can fully understand why it is a mainstay in Greek homes over Christmas.
New Zealand – Pavlova
Christmas in New Zealand is a relaxed affair often with a barbecue, although traditional roast turkey or ham with roast potatoes are also popular.
However, the centrepiece of the feast in New Zealand is pavlova. An enormous meringue delight covered in fruits, berries and cream dominates the table. Normally topped with pomegranate seeds, it is eagerly awaited by the Kiwis.
Japan – KFC
It’s true, in Japan, they love to enjoy some chicken from KFC!
The American fast food giant’s fried delights are the dinner of choice in the Land of the Rising Sun and orders are made months before Christmas Day by the Japanese to ensure they don’t miss out on their favourite festive food.