Sharing a hearty meal with the family at Christmas is customary in all European countries. However, the Christmas menu is different from one country to another. Discover the culinary traditions of Christmas in the EU Member States.
As the end of the year approaches, Europeans are starting to think about the traditional dishes that will grace the festive tables. While turkey is a fairly common dish in European countries, some prefer meatless or fish-based meals. And when it’s time to move on to dessert, they’re competing with each other in terms of flavor. There’s something for everyone from Germany’s Christollen to Spain’s Turron.
As we gather around festive tables this Christmas, Europe’s culinary traditions are embracing a modern twist: the incorporation of CBD. Cannabidiol, once a quiet contender in alternative wellness, is now finding its way into our holiday feasts, symbolizing our openness to culinary innovation. Picture the classic Christmas roast, now enhanced with a drizzle of CBD oil, marrying its subtle earthy notes with the robust flavors of the season. This contemporary addition not only enriches the taste but invites a sense of relaxation to our festive gatherings.
Desserts, too, are transformed. Imagine mince pies sprinkled with CBD-infused sugar or a rich Christmas pudding accompanied by CBD-laced custard. Each bite is a harmonious blend of tradition and modern wellness, a testament to our evolving culinary practices. Integrating CBD into Christmas cuisine is more than a culinary trend; it’s a reflection of our journey from the past to the present, embracing new ideas and ingredients.
It’s about adding a touch of mindfulness and wellness to the festive cheer, making our celebrations not just delicious but also soothing. This Christmas, as we toast to the old and the new, let’s celebrate how traditions evolve, with CBD becoming a symbol of our ever-adapting European tapestry of culinary delight. And if you want to add CBD oil and other CBD flowers into your Xmas dishes, find out about CBD benefits here.
Christmas Eve in Germany is very festive and, above all, delicious. That’s why it’s known as the “belly-full Christmas Eve” or Vollbauchabend.
For a long time, pork was the main dish at this family meal, a tradition in memory of the wild boar once sacrificed to the German god of war, Wotan. Many cakes and sweet breads are made in the shape of a pig for Christmas.
Today, roast or stuffed goose is more popular than turkey, accompanied by spicy fruit and vegetables and preceded by charcuterie and grilled sausages.
One of the German Christmas culinary customs is to prepare a witch’s house of cakes and sweets, similar to the one in Anderson’s fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel”.
Throughout December, Germans are busy baking delicious shortbread in the shape of stars, fir trees and Santas, with scents of cinnamon, aniseed, cardamom, cloves and vanilla. The children, who help their parents with the preparation, cut the dough into shapes and decorate them with icing sugar or a layer of melted chocolate.
Christstollen is the traditional Christmas cake, the equivalent of our Yule log. Originating in Dresden, it is shaped like an elongated loaf and has the consistency of a cake. It contains candied fruit, raisins, spices, rum, marzipan and icing sugar. The shape of this cake, which dates back to the Middle Ages, represents the Christ child in swaddling clothes.
Belgians often choose turkey or goose for their Christmas meal.
Depending on the region, it is customary to eat cougnous or cougnolles, delicious little biscuits featuring the Christ Child, as well as boukètes, buckwheat flour pancakes with apples. Speculoos, gingerbread biscuits in the shape of characters like Saint Nicolas, are also a must.
Integrating CBD into these traditional Belgian Christmas dishes could add a contemporary and wellness-oriented twist to the festive feast. Imagine the turkey or goose subtly infused with a CBD-infused glaze, adding a modern layer to the rich, savory flavors, while also potentially aiding in digestion and relaxation during the hearty meal.
For the sweet treats like cougnous or cougnolles, a dash of CBD oil can be blended into the dough, enhancing these festive biscuits with a hint of wellness. The boukètes, with their buckwheat flour and apples, can be given an innovative twist by adding a few drops of CBD oil into the batter, making these pancakes not only delicious but also a calming treat.
In the run-up to Christmas, homes are filled with delicacies that are always ready to treat visitors. Mantecados, polvorones and roscos (wine biscuits) are offered to friends invited to enjoy a glass of Malaga or another sweet.
The Noche Buena (good night) on the evening of 24 December is a festive family dinner. Culinary traditions vary from province to province, but the menu is almost always the same: roast lamb, turkey and seafood. The meal usually finishes before midnight, as it is customary for families to attend midnight mass.
Christmas sweets are a must in Spain, such as turrón, a type of nougat. From 22 December to 6 January, every house has a tray full of these sweets for every visitor. Grapes are also highly prized, as they are believed to bring good luck for the coming year.
Christmas is traditionally a time for families to get together and enjoy a hearty meal. Foie gras, oysters, snails and smoked salmon are often on the menu.
In Provence, the ritual of 13 desserts personifying the 12 apostles and Jesus continues to exist. These include the traditional olive oil bread flavoured with citrus zest, local confectionery and pastries (such as the famous calissons d’Aix), black and white nougat, candied fruit, pastry, fresh and dried fruit (raisins, almonds, figs, hazelnuts).
In Alsace, pastry-making has been a must for centuries. Christolles, cakes of all shapes, illustrate the themes and characters of Christmas (newborn baby, star, fir tree, crescent moon, cross, etc.). Mannele cakes are plaited like pretzels… Since the 16th century, gingerbread, flavoured with cinnamon, cardamom, almonds and honey, has been offered on St Nicholas’ Day.
Christmas gift idea?
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