Holiday Food Traditions

One of the best things about the holidays is the food, especially for someone enrolled in online culinary colleges. While turkey is a Christmas tradition in the U.S., it’s exciting to learn about food traditions around the world. Maybe your family already serves a dish reminiscent of your heritage during the holidays, or maybe they keep it simple. Change things up this year and serve one of these international dishes this Christmas.


Ciroba de perisoare – Romania
This dish is made up of chicken meatballs and and vegetables in a sour broth. This can be served as an appetizer or an entree.

Zakuski – Russia
This appetizer platter consists of cured meats, fish and vegetables to snack on. Usually served with a plethora of dipping sauces like horseradish butter, pot cheese and plum sauce, it has a little bit of something for everyone.

Porkkanalaatiko – Finland 
Porkkanalaatiko is basically a carrot casserole made by baking carrots and rice in a custard made up of eggs and milk. It’s usually sweet, with brown sugar or molasses mixed in before baking. This dish is similar to American sweet potatoes.


Bigos – Poland
This stew is warm and hearty, perfect for a cold Christmas meal. Made with pork shoulder, ham hock, kielbasa and Polish sausage, it’s full of meat and the classic Polish flavors of cabbage and sauerkraut.

A Feast of Seven Fishes – Italy
This is exactly what it sounds like: a feast that consists of seven different seafood dishes, from a simple shrimp scampi to an elaborate lobster fra diavolo. This tradition is meant to commemorate the birth of Jesus.

Pavo Trufado de Navidad – Spain
If you can’t bear the thought of going through Christmas without turkey, but still want to change things up a bit, try this Spanish dish. This turkey is stuffed with truffles, pork and veal.


Buche de Noel – France
The iconic yule log originated in France. Decorated to look like a log dusted in snow, the Buche de Noel is flourless chocolate cake wrapped around whipped cream.

Lampreia de Ovos – Portugal
Though sea lampreys are a pest in the Great Lakes, they’re a delicacy in Portugal. For Christmas, people make this sweet egg cake shaped like a sea lamprey.

Pavlova Meringue – Australia
This crispy meringue is topped with whipped cream, berries, banana and passion fruit. It’s a perfect, light finishing touch to a hearty holiday meal.


Gluhwein – Germany
Mulled wine is a staple at German Christmas markets. While there are plenty of mulled wine recipes, German gluhwein is made with a dry red wine, brandy, lemons, oranges, cardamom and cinnamon sticks.

Cola de Moro – Chile
Similar to egg nog, cola de moro is a spicy, creamy drink made with Chilean aguardiente, rum or brandy, milk, coffee, vanilla bean, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves.

Ponche Navideno – Mexico
Ponche navideno is a Christmas punch that can be made with or without alcohol. Consisting of cane sugar, spices, fruit and nuts, this warm punch will warm everyone in the family up.

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