Bing Christmas Foods from Around the World

The holiday season is a time for festive cheer, bringing loved ones together, and enjoying delicious food. Christmas cuisine varies greatly between cultures, but a common theme is hearty, rich dishes that provide comfort during cold winter months. Let’s bing on Christmas flavors from around the globe!

Christmas Foods

Traditions in North America & Europe

The Christmas dinner table in North America and Europe is often laden with roasted turkey or ham served alongside hearty sides like mashed potatoes, stuffing, casseroles and veggies. Sweet treats also make an appearance, especially:

Fruitcake

This dense, rich cake contains dried fruits and nuts and is soaked in spirits. Fruitcake has been a part of Christmas for centuries and is enjoyed across Europe and North America despite some controversy over its taste.

Gingerbread

The sweet, spicy aroma of gingerbread brings immediate reminders of the holidays. Gingerbread men, houses, and other shapes are popular Christmas cookies. Germany claims origination of the first documented gingerbread recipe.

Eggnog

Eggnog is a classic Christmas cocktail usually made with milk, cream, eggs, sugar, spices like nutmeg and vanilla, and spirits like rum or bourbon. Historical origins may trace back to medieval Europe.

Traditions in Mexico

The cuisine of Mexico beautifully blends native and European influences. Families celebrate Nochebuena on Christmas Eve with these tasty treats:

Tamales

These small corn dough parcels are stuffed with meats, cheeses, chilies and more, wrapped in corn husks or banana leaves and steamed. Making tamales is a labor of love requiring the whole family.

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Atole

This warm, corn-based beverage gets a Christmassy twist with added cinnamon and sugar. It’s a comforting drink to enjoy on a cold evening.

Bunuelos

These crispy, round fritters are sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar for a sweet finish to the meal. Some families serve bunuelos with hot chocolate or fruit punch.

Traditions in South America

Traveling south, Christmas celebrations become livelier and hotter with glorious South American cuisine!

Peru: Panetón

Panetón is a sweet, fluffy, fruitcake inspired by Italian panettone, enjoyed across South America, but especially in Peru. Unique flavors like pineapple or apples are used.

Colombia: Hojaldres, natilla & buñuelos

Colombians enjoy flaky pastries like hojaldres, creamy custards like natilla, and fritters similar to buñuelos called buñuelos. These sweet treats are served alongside the main Christmas dinner.

Brazil: Chester or tender pernil

The main dish is either a roasted turkey-like bird called Chester or tender roasted pork called pernil. Rich, fruity flavors from preserved fruit pastes often accompany the meal.

Traditions in Europe: France, Poland & Greece

Europe offers incredible diversity in Christmas cuisine across regions:

France: Bûche de Nöel

This unique Christams cake shaped like a yule log or bûche de Nöel. Light, delicate sponge cake is filled with chocolate or another rich buttercream.

Poland: Pierogi

Pierogi are savory or sweet dumplings, traditionally filled with sauerkraut, mushrooms, mashed potatoes, cheese or fruit. They are served as part of Wigilia supper on Christmas Eve.

Greece: Christopsomo

Spiced loaves flavored with orange, cloves and anise called christopsomo or ‘Christ breads’ are enjoyed across Greece. Tsoureki and kourabiedes cookies are also popular treats.

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Traditions in Africa

In much of Africa, Christianity arrived along with colonization. Traditional holiday dishes fuse African ingredients with European cooking methods.

Nigeria: Jollof rice, chicken & beef

The Christmas feast includes jollof rice, a fragrantly spiced tomato rice, served with either barbecued chicken or beef. Stews and soups are also popular foods.

South Africa: Sosaties

These skewered, grilled meat cubes are adapted from Indonesian satay. Lamb, beef or chicken sosaties are basted with apricot jam during cooking and served alongside sausage stuffing.

Ghana: Kelewele with palava sauce

Bite-sized plantain chunks called kelewele are seasoned, fried and served with palava sauce, made with leafy greens, chilies, onions and spices.

Dessert Traditions From Asia

Let’s conclude our global Christmas cuisine tour with sweet Asian desserts!

Philippines: Bibingka

This coconut rice cake topped with salted eggs and cheese is cooked in clay pots lined with banana leaves. Bibingka is a specialty during the holidays.

India: Kulkuls & Gujiya

Kulkuls are spiral-shaped cookies dipped in sugar syrup. Gujiya are sweet empanada-like pastries stuffed with nuts, coconut and cardamom scented syrup. Both are enjoyed during Diwali and Christmas.

Japan: Christmas cake

Strawberries and whipped cream top fluffy sponge Christmas cake. Its a popular seasonal dessert though Christmas isn’t a formal holiday.

Conclusion

This whirlwind tour from North America to Asia reveals delightful differences in Christmas cuisine! Local ingredients, cultural traditions, religious influences, and family recipes shape holiday food across the globe. Yet warmth, love, and joy transcend as universal themes this season. As we celebrate with food, may the flavors and memories remind us of our shared hopes and humanity!

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FAQs

What are some classic North American and European Christmas foods?

Some classic Christmas foods in North America and Europe include roasted turkey or ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, fruitcake, gingerbread cookies and eggnog.

What types of foods do Mexicans enjoy on Christmas Eve?

On Nochebuena, Mexicans feast on tamales, cinnamon sweetened atole (corn beverage), and crispy bunuelos fritters dusted with cinnamon sugar.

What unique baked goods do Peruvians and Colombians enjoy?

Signature sweets include Peruvian panetón fruitcake and Colombian hojaldres (pastries), natilla (custard) and buñuelos fritters.

How does African Christmas food blend traditions?

African holiday cuisine fuses local ingredients like jollof rice or leafy greens with European cooking methods brought by colonizers. The result is dishes like Nigerian barbecue chicken and Ghanaian kelewele fritters.

What sweet Asian treats are Christmas favorites?

Popular Asian Christmas desserts include Filipino bibingka coconut cakes, Indian kulkuls cookies and gujiya pastries and Japanese Christmas cake topped with strawberries and cream.