C. Hisakazu Watanabe, 2011

Christmas foods around the world

4 mins read


It’s day four of Brig’s 2020 Food Advent Calendar. Today it is all about my favourite festive foods from across the world.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. I love this couple of weeks; the world seems different, the Scottish weather feels strangely comforting, and people generally seem happier. However you celebrate, everyone has those traditions that make the festivities unique, and our food is always a massive part of that. We all know about the yule log, Christmas KFC in Japan and mince pies but let’s explore some of my favourite food traditions from across the world.

Credit: Kirsten Stevens. 2017-the endless meal

Spicy hot chocolate (Peru)
As I personal favourite of mine, I’ve had many cups of hot chocolate over the years. So needless to say, many people I know claim to have the best method for making the best hot chocolate. If this sounds familiar to you, you may want to give Peru’s spiced hot chocolate a go.
This gives creamy hot chocolate a kick and is made with chocolate, condensed or evaporated milk, and a combination of spices, such as cinnamon, chilli powder, cloves, and nutmeg. This spicy treat is so popular that it has its own event known as la Chocolatadas, during which people gather and serve with a popular cake called panetón.

Butter tarts (Canada)
These tarts are known for gaining popularity during the French colonisation of Canada. The French women made do with what they had and with the abundance of new foods, they created these iconic Canadian tarts.

While these tarts are a Canadian Christmas tradition, butter tarts are a traditionally Canadian dessert that’s served around Christmas and thanksgiving. They’re pastries with a sweet filling made of butter, sugar, maple syrup, eggs, and perhaps controversially, almonds and raisins. They remind me of a cross between Bakewell and Ecclefechan tarts. I like these freshly baked with a cup of tea for a great afternoon snack.

latkes (Israel)
One of my friends made these during a Hannukah party he held last year, and oh my goodness. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a big savoury person, but these are definitely worth it. Latkes are a staple on most Jewish dinner plates this time of year. Fried in hot oil, latkes are a symbol of traditional Jewish law. The history goes that it represents only having enough oil to light the menorah for 8 days despite only having oil for a day.
Made of the kitchen staples, you can make latkes with shredded potato and onions, eggs, and breadcrumbs or matzo (Passover flatbread). Triple fry it in scalding oil, and you have yourself some delicious latkes. Other popular Hanukkah treats include sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts) and beef brisket.

Credit: Foodnetwork.

Many cultures celebrate the Festive season, sometimes for different reasons. Whether it’s Hanukkah, New Year or Christmas, food plays such an important role in celebrations around the world. From savoury to sweet, everyone brings a twist that make food even more magical.

If you want to learn more about Christmas food across the world, see this article by a fellow Brig writer on Weihnachten here.

Feature image credit: Hisakazu Watanabe

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