Traditional Christmas Food from Around the World

Wherever in the world you’re celebrating Christmas, the holidays are a time to get together with friends and family, and enjoy a seasonal treat. Families gather together to feast, and the food that comes to the table during the Christmas season is always delicious, meaningful, and generally quite indulgent.

If you’re looking to spice up your Christmas menu this year, take a look at this list. We’ve gathered together some of the world’s most traditional Christmas foods, so you can see how people all around the globe eat during the festive season.

1. Tourtière – Canada

Although Canada is a gigantic melting pot, with many Christmas traditions joyfully co-existing together, many of our northern neighbors celebrate Christmas by digging into a hefty tourtière. Tourtière is a meat pie that originates in Quebec, and is made of a variety of ground meat tucked into a deliciously buttery pastry crust.

The major components of tourtière depend on where it’s made. In coastal regions, you’re likely to find it stuffed with salmon, but in Quebec and other inland areas, pork, veal, and beef are common. An interesting version of this dish called tourtière saguenéenne originates in the Saguenay region, and it’s made with painstakingly cubed veggies and meat instead of minced meat.

2. Christmas Cake – United Kingdom

The most classic British treat around Christmas time — the thing that gets every mouth across the island watering — is Christmas cake.

It’s a fruit cake, made with loads of glacé cherries, candied citrus peel, nuts, and spices, which is made ahead of time, then “fed” with alcohol for up to two months before it’s served. The result is a deeply flavorful, booze-soaked cake that tastes richly of sugary fruit and spices that have mellowed over time. The icing is made of stiff marzipan, and many British families have tiny little figurines that they use to decorate the surface of the cake.

marilyn barbone / Shutterstock

3. Panettone – Italy

Another sweet that’s enjoyed around the world during the holiday season is panettone, which originated in Italy. It’s a sweet, leavened bread that’s most similar to sourdough as it requires a long time to “proof.” This complicated baking process gives the bread it’s characteristic fluffy interior, which is studded with candied fruit and raisins.

In Italy, this bread is often elaborately wrapped, and given as a gift. It’s eaten either plain or with a dollop of sweet mascarpone cream, and is often accompanied by coffee or a glass of sweet wine.

margouillat photo / Shutterstock

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