Food traditions from around the world

It’s simply the most wonderful time of the year, but what treats and delicacies are enjoyed across the globe during the festive season?


A Scandinavian staple, lutefisk is a popular Nordic dish enjoyed by not only Norwegians, but Swedes and Finns too. Lutefisk is a love it or hate it dish that has an acquired taste: it’s an air-dried salted whitefish (usually cod) which is treated with lye. Lye is in fact a corrosive chemical often found in soap, which is why this dish is so unusual. Lye disintegrates the fish proteins and gives it a rather gelatinous texture. The lye is washed out before the fish is cooked with salt and then eaten.


French Christmas tradition certainly embodies a true joie de vivre, as the French indulge in oysters and foie gras for their Christmas dinner. Although these delicacies are of course eaten throughout the year, the yuletide season sees them soar in demand. Around 70% of French oysters are consumed throughout the Christmas and New Year period, with 50% of the annual oyster production devoured during the Christmas week!


The Italians spoil each other with a host of sweet festive treats, as the Christmas season sees lots of special days and giant family feasts. The Italians’ main sweet edible choices are Struffoli, Panettone, and Amaretti. Struffoli are beautiful lightly fried mini dough balls dusted with sugar and a lemony zest. Panettone is a delicious Italian sweet bread with fruit and nuts, and can be also made into cupcakes or muffins. Amaretti are almond flavoured cookies that truly encapsulate Christmas.


Christmas is a very religious family affair in Greece, and this is certainly seen in Greek Christmas food. Christopsomo means “Christ’s Bread”, and is an imperative tradition that is baked from the finest ingredients on Christmas Eve. Christopsomo is enjoyed on Christmas Day. For dessert, Kourabiedes are soft almond shortbreads that dusted in lashings of powdered sugar.


Filipinos enjoy purple rice for their Christmas meal, and this is known as Pirurutong. Pirurutong is an extremely rich rice made from a blend of black and white rice, which gives it its distinct purple hue. The rice is soaked for 12 hours in salt water before it’s drained and poured into a bumbong (a bamboo tube). The bumbong is then steamed until the rice is cooked, and is served with sugar, butter, and shredded coconut.


The December homes of England are renowned for their traditional Christmas Puddings (you can read all about its history here)! The best British Christmas Puddings are ones that are aged and made at least a month before Christmas. British tradition is to hide a coin inside the pudding, with whoever finds it getting good luck. Want to make your own Christmas Cake? Click here to see our Essential Christmas Cake recipe.

The British tradition doesn’t stop there! If you’d like to indulge in a quintessentially British hamper, why not take a look at our Christmas Hampers?


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