There is a common perception that trying to lose weight around Christmas time is a very bad idea. Because, naturally, this is when friends and family agree that stuffing enormous amounts of food into our faces is absolutely acceptable. This is of course true, and everyone should embrace the season as one to put on a few pounds, which is supposedly worth it for delicious festive foods.
Speaking of which, Christmas lunch is a tradition embraced around the world. Though, it happens to take on different forms depending on where you are. Take a look at what goes into a traditional Christmas lunch in a few countries, just in case you want to branch out and stuff your face with tasty treats beyond your own borders!
The Swedish are firm believers in a motto that everyone can get behind during the festive season; more is more. Hence, the Swedish jullbord, or Christmas table, is laden with enough food to drown a boat. The centrepiece of the table will always be a prime Christmas ham, boiled to perfection, glazed with mustard, and topped off with breadcrumbs. Mouth watering!
However, we’re only just getting started. The ham is surrounded by selection of other smoked and pickled meats, complete with complimentary syrups. This all goes alongside the tradition of ‘dopp i grytan,’ otherwise known as ‘dipping in the kettle,’ which involves dunking bread into a rich ham broth. As we said, more is more in Sweden, and that includes the pounds you’ll be packing on with this delicious feast.
Not to be outdone, the Germans have a Christmas lunch tradition of their own. Roast goose served with dumplings and red cabbage is the order of the day in Germany, but it is the kale stew that goes with the goose that is where things really get interesting. Legend has it that every grandmother in Germany has a spiced kale stew recipe of her own, which she will pass on only once, before taking it to her grave.
With your roast goose you are also likely to get a serving of ‘ein knacker,’ or smoked sausage. For desert a pfefferkuchenhaus may be served, or genuine edible miniature gingerbread house.
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The Spanish like their meats as much as any country, but it is often more common to see fish at the Christmas lunch table than in many other countries. Shrimp are a firm favourite, otherwise referred to as langostino. Boiled shrimp can be served in a variety of ways, including in seafood soups, or whole, to be de-shelled at the table.
In terms of main courses, slow roasted lamb is a must, served with potatoes. Ham is also high on the Spanish culinary delights list, with dishes like ham croquettes and béchamel cream sauce a common choice.
The Great White North has a few Christmas lunch traditions of its own, including a few great items that would surely be welcome anywhere in the world. A French Canadian tourtière, or meat pie, may well make an appearance, alongside central dish of, of course, a roasted wild turkey. The turkey is generally served with cranberries, mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts.
Dessert is where Canada really goes the whole nine yards, with mouth watering offerings that are enough to make you move to Canada ASAP, or at least have some of their dishes shipped to your lunch table. British Columbian Nanaimo Bars are triple-decker desserts with creamy centres, a chewy based and chocolate top layer.
When in France, have lunch like the French. Caviar is the traditional starter of course, which may be accompanied by oysters. Lobster may also make an appearance, depending on how much is being spent on the lunch. Roast turkey with chestnut stuffing will traditionally be the main course, although pheasant, goose and chicken may also make an appearance.
For dessert dates, figs, and the traditional cake, pompe a l’huile, will be served.