20 Traditional Christmas Foods Around the World | Christmas Traditions

20 Traditional Christmas Foods Around the World

20 Traditional Christmas Foods Around the World

Have you ever wondered how people celebrate Christmas in other places?

Every country has its own traditional Christmas foods. Some celebrate in private while it becomes a community affair for others. Many of these activities are influenced by local customs and culture, particularly the food.

From Australia to Iceland, everyone give this festival a unique touch cooking traditional family recipes. From German Stollen to Cuban eggnogs, there are many delicacies prepared with care and served with love.
Discover some of these exotic treats with this guide on traditional Christmas foods across the world. You can add a new dish or two to your repertoire!

1. Australia – Pavlova

christmas food-10

Image Courtesy – Kimberly Vardeman

The warm and sunny weather in the southern hemisphere adds to the festive bonhomie. Traditional sweets include White Christmas slices made with copha or shortening and mixed fruit. Pavlova, a meringue dessert garnished with kiwi or strawberries, is enjoyed in both Australia and New Zealand. Main courses range from cold ham to mince pie.

 

2. Germany – Stollen

christmas food-12

Image Courtesy – Butaris

 

The tradition of Weihnachtsstollen baking goes back to the 15th century. The dried fruit cake contains walnuts, raisins, spices, rum, comes with a marzipan core and gets a sugar coating. Then there are foods like Lebkuchen, baked apples with walnut stuffing, cookies, and main course of various roast meats.

3. France – Bûche de Noël

christmas-food-france-min

Image Courtesy – Distoplandreamgirl

The chocolate yule log (Bûche de Noël) is synonymous with Xmas festivities in France. The traditional lunch includes venison, roast turkey, oysters, foie gras, goose and smoked salmon. In Provence district, home cooks prepare 13 different desserts representing Jesus and his chief disciples.

 

4. Italy – Pannettone

christmas food-19

Image Courtesy – Jacob Montrasio

Panettone is one of the main treats among Italian food served during the festive season. This tear-and-share sweet bread is a Christmas delicacy packed with sultanas, raisins, candied peel and fruits.

5. Greece – Baklava

christmas food-17

Image Courtesy – Navin75

 

Baklava is the favourite sweet in Greece for festive occasions. This filo pastry contains chopped nuts mixed with syrup sauce or sweet honey. Christmas meals includes dishes like roasted pork or lamb and Avgolemono, a chicken soup with rice and eggs.

6. Jamaica –  Fruit Rum Cake

christmas food-9

Image Courtesy – Unleashthebeauty

 

Fruit and rum cake is a big Christmas tradition in many countries and this Caribbean island is no exception. Dried fruit is soaked in rum and red wine for months before being baked. Other favourites include oxtail stew and goat curry.

 

7. Cuba – Majarete

christmas food-1

Image Courtesy –Paula Zaragoza

This corn-coconut milk pudding is a common festive treat in some South American and Caribbean nations. Majarete is made with corn, coconut milk, regular milk, vanilla, cinnamon and sugar. Suckling pig or Lechon asado, eggnog and turron are other holiday dishes.

 

8. Brazil – Ceia de Natal

christmas food-16

Image Courtesy – Mateus Waechter

This is a chicken or turkey roast with a difference as the meat is marinated in spices and champagne. Other Christmas dishes include roast pork, ham, codfish, pork loins, mousse and crème caramel.

 

9. Poland – Borscht

christmas food-11

Image Courtesy – Liz West

Poland has a unique tradition as beetroot soup, Borscht is served as a starter on
Christmas Eve which is a meat-free day. Dinner consists of 12 dishes for the 12 apostles, and includes pierogi, pickled herring, cabbage rolls and uszka (stuffed dumplings).

 

10. Russia/Belarus/Ukraine– Sochivo/Kutiya

christmas food-3

Image Courtesy – Iryna Yeroshko

Fasting on Christmas Eve is common in Russia, followed by serving of Sochivo. This porridge is made of rice or wheat, nuts fruits, seeds and honey.

11. Spain – Turron

christmas food-15

Image Courtesy – Javier Escribano

This popular Christmas dessert is a mixture of sugar, egg whites, almonds and honey. Other foods include dry-cured ham, Jamón, roasted meats, churros, and crumbly cakes.

12. Canada – Tourtiere

christmas food-6

Image Courtesy – Paul Brady

This mince pie flavoured with spices and apple cider is a popular meal among French-speaking Canadians. Christmas in this country is incomplete without an assortment of cookies, gingerbread, pudding, shortbread and roasted turkey.

13. Ethiopia – Doro Wat

christmas food-7

Image Courtesy – Garett

The North African country’s traditional Christmas foods include a slow-cooked chicken stew with chillies, garlic, berbere, ginger and cardamom. The dish is served along with boiled eggs.

14. South Africa – Malva Pudding

christmas food-14

Image Courtesy – Jonathan Lin

Holiday tradition involves grilled or roasted meats including beef, turkey or duck. Malva pudding, a sweet sponge cake is the favoured dessert. Other main dishes include mince pie and yellow rice with suckling pig and veggies.

15. India – Plum cake

christmas food

Image Courtesy – Jon Roberts

While there are other Xmas-specific foods including kulkuls (coconut cookies), rum-soaked fruit cakes occupy the pride of the omst famous Christmas food. Rum soaked cakes have many variants from plum cakes to the Allahabadi cake. You’ll find anything from dried fruits, spices and nuts to marmalade and ghee in these browned treats.

16. Philippines – Bibingka

christmas food-2

Image Courtesy – Kabayanmark Images

Whole roast suckling pig and ham are centrepieces of the holiday table. Other savouries include Edam cheese, Pancit (Noodle dish), Chorizo, and Kadereta (goat stew). Desserts include Bibingka, a cake made with rice flour, sugar, butter and coconut milk and Puto Bumbong made with purple rice, sugar and coconut.

17. Iceland – Laufabrauð

christmas food-18

Image Courtesy – Brian Suda

Families get together to make this crispy flatbread from thin dough sheets. The leaf bread is cut with a special tool into geometric patterns and deep fried. The leg of roast lamb occupies the centre spot on the Christmas table. Then there is wild grouse served with a tart-sweet berry sauce.

18. Denmark – Ris á la mande

christmas food-8

Image Courtesy – Katrine Thielke

Rice pudding is one of the traditional Christmas foods in Denmark. The ingredient list includes rice, milk, almonds, whipped cream and vanilla. Other treats include spherical pancakes, caramelised potatoes, and roast pork or duck.

19. Norway – Julekake

christmas food-5

Image Courtesy – Rich Renomeron

Along with sausages and ribs, cakes and cookies are the mainstay of Christmas meals in Norway. Julekake is a sweet bread with cardamom, candied peel and raisins. Wafer cookies, Krumkakes and moulded ginger cookies, Peculaas are other desserts served during the festive season.

20. Sweden – Julbord

christmas food-4

Image Courtesy – Evelina Ander

Julbord is the main feast on Christmas Eve. This is basically a buffer with assorted foods like cold meats, pickles, cheese and cold fish. The star of the buffet is undoubtedly Julskinka – boiled and crisp-roasted ham. No Christmas celebration is complete without saffron buns.

Have you tasted any of these traditional Christmas foods? Share your favourite holiday dish with us!

Upcoming Cooking Classes and Food Tours

Book now
Exploring Vietnamese Cuisine: Market Tour and Farm Tour with a Cooking Class in Ho Chi Minh

107/7 Trần Văn Chẩm, Ho Chi Minh City, Củ Chi, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

€62,00

Book now
Cooking Class and Cultural Walk in Umbria

Città della Pieve, Province of Perugia, Italy

€95,00

Book now
Golden Gai Food Tour in Shinjuku at Night (Tokyo)

3 Chome-38-1, Shinjuku-ku, Tōkyō-to 160-0022

€125,00

Book now
Embark on a Delicious Osaka Night Food Tour

日本, 〒542-0071 大阪府大阪市中央区道頓堀1丁目8−19

€108,00

Book now
Persian Food Tour in Tehran

Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran

€80,00

Post Discussion

13 thoughts on “20 Traditional Christmas Foods Around the World

  1. Christina

    Wow, great dishes ! Thanks for the interesting post and for sure: Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year to you as well. Hope to meet you soon in 2017! Best Christina

    2 years ago Reply

  2. Veronica Leirvaag

    Wow now I’m really hungry! This looks really yummy Great post with showing all of the dishes

    2 years ago Reply

  3. ada

    This is amazing post ! Ive always love reading about international traditional food! I am from Poland and funny enough I actually dont like Borscht. But the rest in wonderful 😀 I dont know when I am gonna loose this extra kilogram Ive gain over last two days 😀

    2 years ago Reply

    1. avatar
      Anastasia

      Sometimes we end up hating traditional foods when we had way too much of them during our childhood, I have a few items like that 😉 I love borscht though, it is one of my favourite winter foods!

      2 years ago Reply

  4. Gillian Kent

    Fortunately, Tourtiere stays mostly in Quebec. Out west its boring old turkey. I think want to be in Cuba for Christmas next year. Their dining would suit me!

    2 years ago Reply

  5. MacKenzie

    These all look delicious! The Jamaican fruit rum cake is soooooo good.

    2 years ago Reply

  6. Ali

    These all look so good! I have wanted to make a yule log forever – I think maybe next year, if I don’t get distracted by some other beautiful recipe first. 🙂

    2 years ago Reply

  7. Jolina

    I love how every culture has they own unique Christmas tradition. Food especially 🙂 I want to try everything on here!

    2 years ago Reply

  8. Vibeke Johannessen

    I love this post! I only knew the Norwegian one since I am from there. We actually have 7 traditional christmas cakes/cookies 😀 I would love to try all of the 20 in this post. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    2 years ago Reply

    1. avatar
      Anastasia

      wow 7 types of cookies! In this case Christmas baking will never get boring 😉

      2 years ago Reply

  9. Charlotte

    This was so fun to read! I’m Norwegian and for some reason I don’t like the “Julekake”, I’m all about krumkake

    2 years ago Reply

  10. Leah

    This was such an interesting post! I loved reading about what all the different cultures have on Christmas day! I am from Australia and the good old Pavlova is definitely a favourite. We always have lots of salads, seafood (prawns mainly) and cold meats.

    2 years ago Reply

  11. JOHN MULINDI

    This is an amazing collection, am keeping it somewhere for reference especially when I wanted to try out new food. Thanks

    1 year ago Reply

Add a comment

twenty + 1 =