Cool, dark evenings and the sparkle of Christmas lights signal the beginning of the festive season and for a month or so we can enjoy the building anticipation, the festive markets and the warmth of spending time with family and friends. For most of us, food is at the heart of all things festive, from specials in the sandwich shops and bakeries to the Christmas Day feasts, the cheeseboards, chocolates and leftover turkey sandwiches. It wouldn’t be the same without the indulgence.
We’re all used to roast turkey, stuffing, pigs in blankets and a hearty pile of vegetables, it’s easy to forget that round the globe people enjoy a host of delicacies, some familiar and some completely removed from the festive feasts we enjoy.
If you’re looking for some new culinary ideas to give your Christmas dinner a twist, we’ve taken a quick tour round the globe to give you a glimpse of how families enjoy their festive meals.
Italy – Panettone
Originally from the northern city of Milan, panettone is a sweet bread loaf enjoyed at Christmas by many Italians. Its popularity has even seen it enjoyed in Western and Southern Europe as well as parts of Africa. Panettone typically contains candied orange, lemon zest and raisins, and is often accompanied by sweet wine or served with a mascarpone cream. If you really want to impress friends and family, then you’ll need to draw on your best baking skills to create this fluffy, light sweetbread. If you fancy taking the plunge, take a look at this recipe.
Sweden – Julskinka
In Sweden, buffet banquets to rival the hungriest of British families are the norm at Christmas. The traditional ‘julbord’ is a packed table full of Scandi delicacies, from the area’s renowned meatballs to pickled herring and ‘Risgrynsgröt’, a sweet rice pudding. The essential centrepiece, however, is the Christmas ham or ‘julskinka’. The ham is traditionally boiled to maintain a tender texture before being coated in a sweet and savoury mustard breadcrumb and baked until the coating is golden. Take a look at this simple recipe if you’d like to substitute the Christmas turkey this year.
Germany – Roast goose
Those of us enjoying Christmas markets in the UK can thank Germany for the influence – the historic centres of every major German city are transformed by the Christmas markets each year, a tradition which dates back to the 15th century. Whilst you might have enjoyed strudel or Glühwein at the markets, you may not be as up to speed with the German Christmas dinner at home. Roast goose, or sometimes duck, is typically the preferred choice of meat in Germany, accompanied by a hearty side of dumplings, red cabbage and stewed kale.
France – Bûche de Noël
Historically, the custom of burning the Yule log was commonplace throughout Europe. Many French families would bring a large wooden log into the house and burn it over the twelve days of Christmas, but by the 1940s this tradition had died out and been replaced by the ‘bûche de Noël’ chocolate log cake. Usually made from a genoise sponge and chocolate buttercream, plenty of additional touches tend to be added, from icing sugar, cream to raspberries, chocolate ganache and dashes of booze like this recipe.
Brazil – Bacalhau
Brazil’s melting pot of colours and its southern hemisphere climate have come together over the years to create quite a different Christmas experience to the one we enjoy in the UK. Despite the warmer temperature and the Iberian cultural influence felt throughout the country, Brazilians enjoy a roast turkey as the centrepiece of their festive meal, although it’s typically served with white rice and walnuts. Alongside the turkey, the other Christmas mainstay is ‘bacalhau’, which is dried and salted cod usually served with eggs, peppers, potatoes, onions and olives. If you’d like to take an adventurous turn in your Christmas dinner prep, here’s a traditional bacalhau recipe.
Philippines – Lechón
As a former Spanish colony, the Philippines has inherited lechón as a prized national dish. Lechón is whole roasted suckling pig and is prepared for many special occasions in the Philippines, including Christmas, where it stands as the grand focal point of the feast. The cooking method, slow rotisserie roasting in a charcoal pit, gives a unique flavour and distinctively crispy skin. Whilst a whole pig certainly isn’t a practical option, cooking pork belly in the Philippino style is a fantastic alternative to the standard British turkey.
You’ll no doubt be stocking up on plenty of food and drink this festive season – make sure it’s all suitably chilled with the innovative AXI fridge-freezer.
With this diverse range of recipes to have a go at, you’ll need to an innovative oven which is up to the Christmas challenge. The Hoover Vision oven has a 19” touch screen interface for simple use, an integrated HD door camera to monitor the progress of your food and Wi-Fi connectivity so you can monitor food on the Wizard app.
And finally, after all the festivities, merriment and the never-ending piles of pots and pans the AXI dishwasher with its extra-large basket allows you to wash up to 176 items in one wash load, giving you more time to spend with your family.