Whether you are enjoying the upcoming holiday season at home or far away on another continent, it is always fascinating and helpful to know, what other countries’ habits are on how to celebrate christmas and of course, what’s cooking for festive occasions. Traditions are surely very local and what might be a delicacy for one is something very different for the other which also leads back to the fact of what was passed on to you as a child.
We were interested to know what families far away are used to prepare as Christmas dishes and feel like we should embrace the possibility to may introduce a dish that has been cooked for generations in another country, to our own home this Christmas! For each area we are also happy to recommend you the best gourmet tour we have to offer, so you are also able to learn how to cook the inspiring new dishes!
A very traditional plate leading back to the Ottoman Empire: pork or beef cooked in tomato sauce and afterwards being rolled up with rice in a cabbage leaf. If you are ever in Bucharest, this is an absolute must! A must-see on the other hand: visit Dracula’s Castle on a day trip and learn all about the legends & mystery that have happened here.
2. Singapore: Curry Devil
In Singapore, people are serving the Devil’s Curry on December 26. Why? Because in this curry, all the left overs from Christmas Day are being mixed together in a stew: chicken, cabbage, sausages…and with a spicy touch, the ‘rempah’ gravy, this meals gets even more special! In the morning, visit a wet market and see where everyone get’s their fresh ingredients from! Try various breakfast dishes and visit China Town – a unique experience indeed!
3. Switzerland: Ham with dried beans
Varying from many festive dishes during Christmas, cooked ham and ‘dried beans’ are very common to be served around the Zurich area. The beans were being dried up to 2 years – this dates back to the times of war when it was common to dry many fruits and vegetables in order to make them longer sustainable. Nevertheless, they are very tasty and make the perfect side dish for the juicy ham. In case you are in Zurich, don’t miss out on..the cheese! With a sightseeing and gourmet tour including Switzerland’s most famous cheese fondue, you will not only explore the city but also get to know the delicious culinary side of Zurich.
4. Russia: Zakouski
A part from being famous for their vodka, the Russians like to cook of course! Have you every tried Zakouski? It is being served on special occasion as hors d’oeuvres – tiny pieces of bread with caviar, eggs, smoked fish and different sauces are most popular. What to drink? Vodka!
While you are in Moscow, discover how to cook the very famous Borsch soup, a traditional dish which consists out beetroot, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, meat and onions. A cook will also introduce to the rich history of the Russian cuisine!
5. Japan: Toshikoshi Soba
As Japanese don’t tend to celebrate Christmas, they have a few festive traditions for New Year’s Eve! If you eat a buckwheat noodle soup before midnight, it is said to be good luck for prosperity and a long life. While in Tokyo, go on a culinary adventure! Taste some of the most famous dishes at a street market.
6. Sweden: Jansson’s Temptation
Sweden is known for its delicious cuisine but what is being served on Christmas? Who would have thought – a part from a huge variety of fish, a very famous plate is called ‘Jansson’s Temptation’, named after a very popular opera star: Pelle Janzon. The rich dish consists of potatoes, onions hering and cream. On top there is a thin layer of bread crumbs!
If you are in Stockholm and you would like to get to know the Swedish cuisine better, go on a brunch cruise! Along the water ways of Stockholm you will explore traditional treats and the Baltic sea breeze.
7. Italy: Fest of 7 fishes
At the Amalfi Caost, fish is easy to catch – but the flavor is so unique, everything is cooked to perfection and the eel which especially can be found in all great restaurants in December, is simply delicious. A plate of 7 delicacies will be prepared for Christmas dinner, ranging from Calamari to shrimps and clams.
Once you pay the Amalfi Coast a visit, don’t miss a trip to Sorrento and enjoy the unique scenery – even in winter!
8. China: Tangyuan (moon dumplings)
Formerly used to protect the ears in winter, the rice flour stuffed dumplings now are being served as a traditional dish for the winter and lantern festivities, sunk in a sweet and savory sauce! If you want to cook authentic Chinese dishes yourself, take a cooking class in Shanghai – chat with the cook about living in China and try outstanding meals accompanied by Chinese tea.
9. UK: Mince pies
The pies are literally ringing in the season – with a delicious filling of fruit and beef concotion, you can buy them everywhere on the streets. The mix of sweet and savory is very special but incredibly tasty! While in London, check out the gourmet guided market walk: take a journey through London’s food markets and taste the culture of the British rich cuisine.
10. Spain: Pavo Trufado de Navidad
An upgrade to our beloved turkey. This one is stuffed with truffles! (oh yeah). If you are in Spain during the Christmas season, pay a visit to Barcelona, the stunning city nearby the sea. Take a stroll along the beach and go for a bike tour (even in winter!) to explore the city!