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Get Inspired by Unique Christmas Feast Traditions Around the World

Christmas Feast Traditions Around the World

Time-honoured holiday meals are comforting and something to look forward to every year, but why not introduce innovative dishes from other regions and embrace different cuisines?

From fried chicken to spicy chicken stew, stuffed goose, and hunter’s stew, let’s hop onto this (virtual) food trip and explore Christmas feast traditions around the world!

1. Malta – Roast Meal

Malta Christmas Feast – Roast Meal
At La Boucherie, you can find delicious Beef Wellington made by our in-house butchers

Naturally, the first country on the list is Malta. Food is a significant part of our culture and nothing says Christmas like a 3-course meal and eating until our stomachs are bursting.

Each household has their own preference on whether to choose a stuffed pork shoulder, a whole roasted turkey, or a sophisticated beef wellington, but one thing is for sure – a delicious roast shared with your extended family is a must.

Our butchers prepare a variety of roasts and stuffed meats in-house. Take a look at our selection by clicking here.

2. UK – Stuffed Turkey

UK Christmas Feast – Stuffed Turkey
In the UK, they enjoy a delicious roast turkey with all the trimmings

Our Christmas traditions were heavily influenced by England, so it stands to reason that in the UK they also love a good roast.

Traditionally, their Christmas feast includes gammon, stuffed turkey, roast potatoes, brussels sprouts, and cranberry sauce. The meal is usually followed by mince pies and Christmas pudding, which is a specialty in the UK.

3. Italy – Variety of Meats

Italy Christmas Feast – Braised Beef / Variety of Meats
Italians love to incorporate meat-based dishes, such as braised beef, into their festivities

In Italy, festivities are a big family affair and this includes ‘Natale’ (Christmas). In true European fashion, celebrations centre around an extensive feast.

Their Christmas menu starts with a plate of lasagne or ravioli and is followed by a meat dish, such as baked chicken, braised beef, stuffed veal rolls, or roast pork. Finally, an indulgent dessert such as panettone or zeppole (donuts) that are left-over from Christmas Eve is passed around.

4. Germany – ‘Weihnachtsgans’

Germany Christmas Feast – Weihnachtsgans (Goose)
Christmas Goose is a German tradition that dates bace to the middle ages

Historically, Germans centre their Christmas feast around ‘Weihnachtsgans’ which translates to Christmas Goose.

Dating back to the middle ages, the oldest recipe for this dish comes from a cookbook published in 1350. The goose is always stuffed with spiced fruit and nuts and roasted, then served with other German foods. Dessert is usually a soft gingerbread cookie known as Lebkuchen.

5. Poland – ‘Bigos’

Poland Christmas Feast – Bigos (Pork-based stew)
This cabbage and meat-based stew used to be made with wild game meat

The traditional Polish dish, ‘Bigos’ is a cabbage and pork-based stew that is over 700 years old. Also known as ‘hunter’s stew’, this satisfying dish is a favourite for Christmas.

Originally, ‘Bigos’ was made with wild game meat but over the centuries, the dish was adapted. Nowadays, a combination of various domestic meats are used, including sausages, bacon or a smoked ham hock, as well as pork shoulder, veal or beef.

6. Romania – ‘Ciorbă de Perișoare’

Romania Christmas Feast – Ciorbă de Perișoare (Pork mince meatballs in soup)
The meatballs for this vegetable soup are made with pork mince and spices

Romanians celebrate Christmas with their traditional sour soup with meatballs called ‘Ciorbă de Perișoare’.

Ciorbă is a soup that is made with vegetables such as onions, parsnips, and celery, and garnished with parsley. Perișoare are meatballs that are made with pork mince, mixed with rice and spices then boiled in the soup.

7. Greece – Chicken Avgolemono Soup

Greece Christmas Feast – Chicken Breast Avgolemono Soup
Chicken Avgolemono Soup is a hearty and warm soup that is served as a first course

This dish is traditionally served as a first course during a Christmas feast in Greece and is a hearty chicken soup with a silky broth that is enriched with lemon and eggs.

The combination of broth, lemon, and eggs is common in Greek cuisine. The emulsion of these 3 ingredients is what makes Chicken Avgolemono Soup so enticing. Chicken breast and rice are added to the soup to give it more substance.

8. Mexico – ‘Chiles en Nogada’

Mexico Christmas Feast – Chiles en Nogada made with pork mince
This dish is not only delicious but looks festive and patriotic with the colours of the Mexican flag

Representing the Mexican flag (Green, white, and red), this festive dish is patriotic and a symbol of national spirit. Many who try it describe it as a unique and phenomenal dish.

Served as an entrée, it comprises a mixture of pork mince, fruit, spices, and nuts stuffed in roasted poblano peppers and covered in a creamy walnut sauce (nogal). Pomegranate seeds and chopped cilantro are added over the top as a garnish.

9. Argentina – ‘Vitel Toné’

Argentina Christmas Feast – Vitel Toné with sliced veal
Vitel Toné, also known as Vitello Tonnato, combines sliced veal with fresh or canned tuna

Originating from Italians who migrated into Argentina the between the 1800s and 1900s, this dish is refrigerated for 1-5 days to fully develop the flavour by Christmas day.

Rather than a regular dish, ‘Vitel Toné’ is a platter of braised and sliced veal covered in a tuna sauce and topped with capers. The sauce is made from fresh or canned tuna and simmered in white wine, cider vinegar, onion, and garlic, before being puréed with oil and egg yolks to form a mayonnaise.

10. Costa Rica – ‘Tamales’

Costa Rica Christmas Feast – Tamales with pork mince
Tamales are a traditional dish in many countries around Central and South America

In Costa Rica, ‘tamales’ are eaten regularly nowadays but originally they were exclusively made for the festive season because they take a lot of time and effort. During Christmas, it ii is traditional to prepare and serve ‘tamales’.

Every family has their own secret recipe but the basis of the dish is similar. ‘Tamales’ are made with a mix of ground corn, pork mince, vegetables, rice, and achiote. This mixture is placed in a plantain leaf, wrapped by hand, and cooked or steamed.

11. Ethiopia – ‘Doro Wat on Injera’

Ethiopia Christmas Feast – Doro Wat on Injera made with chicken
A soft flatbread is used as an eating utensil to pick up the extra spicy chicken stew

The Christmas feast in Ethiopia is celebrated on 7th January as they still follow the Julian calendar. They usually fast on Christmas eve and break their fast the next day with ‘Doro Wat’, a delicious chicken stew.

‘Doro Wat’ is the national dish in Ethiopia and famous in African cuisine. It is traditionally served with ‘Injera’, a flatbread that resembles a spongy pancake, which is used as an eating utensil. Made with chicken thighs or chicken breast, many describe it as ‘fabulous’ but beware – it is considered extra spicy even among spice-lovers!

Are you ready to spice up your Christmas feast?

Get the best meat from the best butcher in Malta
Our butcher can guide you on the best cuts for your festive dish of choice

If you are set on age-old traditions and are still preparing a roast dish this Christmas, click here to read our butcher’s 5 tips and tricks to cooking the perfect juicy pork roast.

However, there’s no reason not to feature other dishes in your feast and take your guests on a virtual trip around the world this festive season.

Our butcher is always happy to guide you on the best cuts and the suggested portions. Simply use our live chat-box, which you can see at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen.

Which country’s traditional dish intrigued you enough to indulge in during this year’s Christmas dinner?

Our Premium Meat Selection

Premium Meat Selection from La Boucherie, Malta's best wholesale butcher
Browse the premium meat selection from La Boucherie, Malta’s best wholesale butcher

At La Boucherie, you can find premium meat cuts for any of the dishes on this list so that you can try them out for yourself.

As Malta’s best wholesale butcher, all our meat have a guaranteed mark of excellence and something we take pride in as true meat lovers ourselves.

We offer same-day delivery for orders placed before 13:00, or if you prefer to purchase your meats over the counter, you can visit our butcher shop in Qormi to see what we’ve got in store.

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