Festive food traditions across the world

It's not all about Mince Pies, Christmas pudding and Pigs in Blankets

It’s December, the Christmas decorations are starting to appear, Christmas shopping is well underway, the festive tunes are already ringing in your ears, and who’s cooking and helping with the special Christmas dinner is perhaps still undecided. And yet each year it’s the same, and would we change it, probably not!

This got us thinking about the festive treats from across the world!

Obviously, Mince Pies, Pigs in Blankets, Turkey, Cranberry sauce and the obligatory Brussel Sprouts make an appearance whether we like them or not, here in the UK, but what do the rest of the world enjoy feasting on during ‘the most wonderful time of the year’?


The natives of Iceland refer to their Christmas meal as the Yule meal and traditionally focuses on a leg of roast lamb.

They also have a unique speciality of leaf bread which they bring out for the festivities. Leaf bread encompasses thin slices of dough which is then cut into patterns before being fried.


There won’t be a ‘traditional English’ Christmas Pudding in a Danish household for dessert on Christmas day.

Denmark’s signature Christmas pudding is known as Risalamande, a dish made with rice, almonds, milk, whipped cream and vanilla.

Whereas the UK traditionally stow away a coin within the pudding, the Danish hide a full size Almond within the rice pudding, and whoever the lucky person is to find it receives a present.


Often Russians will choose to fast on Christmas Eve until the first star has appeared in the night sky.

Then they feast on Sochivo – a porridge made from rice or wheat and is often served with honey, nuts, seeds and fruit.

Why porridge? In Russia Porridge represents unity, bringing the family together. Past Christmases has seen families throw a spoonful of Sochivo to the ceilings of their homes. If it stuck it was said to bring good luck


In Poland, traditionally the main Christmas meal is served on Christmas Eve with Beetroot soup to start, served either hot or cold.


It’s no surprise that Stollen is the Christmas traditional treat1 Its crammed full of marzipan and dried fruit and dusted with icing. Then Stollen dates back to the 15th century when it was traditionally baked as a present to be gifted to friends and family.

New Zealand

Considering Christmas falls in the middle of their summer, New Zealand surprisingly do not tend to have a big Christmas dinner or Christmas Pudding. Instead they’ll likely have a BBQ followed by a nice summery dessert – cream and fruit topped pavlova. This will normally take centre stage of the table for everyone to enjoy.


The Spanish enjoy Nougat (Turrón) for their traditional Christmas Pudding. Made from honey, egg whites, sugar and almonds, it’s the perfect accompaniment to their main Christmas feast which features dry-cured ham as their traditional Christmas meat.


Jamaicans love alcohol soaked fruit cakes for their Christmas festivities. Normally the cake will be soaked in a mixture of rum and wine, for months before the big day, which sounds rather delicious!

They also enjoy stewed oxtail, rum punch and goat curry, over the Christmas season.


So, if you haven’t already decided on what your festive treats and Christmas lunch will entail this year, maybe you could mix things up and choose a traditional Christmas treat from another country?

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