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Christmas food traditions

The festive season is a time for families and friends to get together; a great time of year to dig out your favourite recipes to create dishes especially for celebrating. Even more unusual recipes are feasible as the range of ingredients now available enables us to truly bring international fare to the Christmas table.

This season is celebrated in many ways around the globe and, likewise, the traditions that go with it can vary significantly. Most countries have their own ways of praticing, cooking and celebrating during this indulgent time.

If you want to incorporate some alternative fare into your Christmas dinner this year, the Flexicover Team suggests trying some fabulous offerings from around the world!


Festivities in Peru begin on the night of December 24th known as Noche Buena (or ‘Good Night’). After the misa de gallo (‘rooster Mass’) at 10pm, families and friends gather together to wait for the strike of midnight before wishing each other a Merry Christmas and tucking into a feast. Like many other countries, turkey is the main part of the Christmas meal in Peru which is usually served alongside a variety of salads and apple sauce. The delicious dessert that is usually served is the panetón, a Peruvian fruit cake popular with everyone. Try it this year as part of your meal!


Whilst the Danes love good food and drink all year round, the festive season is particularly bounteous for delicious food. The traditional Christmas meal in Denmark is served on Juleaften (‘Christmas Eve’, 24th December) and usually consists of roasted pork, goose or duck along with potatoes, pickled red cabbage and lots of gravy. A typical Danish dessert at Christmas is a delicious rice pudding – sweet, creamy and made with finely chopped almonds. There is a tradition to have a whole almond hidden in the pudding and the finder usually wins a prize of either chocolate or marzipan!


One of the long standing traditions in Italy is to eat seafood on Christmas Eve known as Festa dei Sette Pesci (“Feast of the Seven Fishes”) or the Vigil. The menu incorporates various fish dishes (usually seven, but these days it can go up to 13), all prepared in different ways. Popular dishes include pan-fried smelts, calamari, baccalà (salt cod) and shellfish of all kinds. By religious tradition in many parts of Italy, Christmas Eve (along with other holy days) is a partial fast (or abstinence) where no meat or butter can be served, thus propagating the consumption of seafood, usually cooked in oil. So why not have a fishy feast of your own before the big day this year!


Christmas isn’t a national holiday in Japan and only about 1% of the population is actually Christian, so celebrations tend to centre around shopping and celebrating Westernism. In fact, Christmas Eve is seen as a highly romantic time, akin to Valentine’s Day. And you certainly won’t be finding turkey readily - it’s a rare dish in Japan. So what do the Japanese eat during this time? Surprisingly, fried chicken is possibly the most eaten dish. People often place their order for their box of “finger lickin’ chicken” months in advance to avoid long queues on the day! This craze stemmed from a very successful marketing campaign in 1974 when a group of foreigners opted for fried chicken on Christmas Day as they couldn’t find turkey. It’s been a popular Christmas dish ever since!


A typical Dutch tradition over Christmas is an evening-long ‘gourmet’ night where groups of family and friends sit together around a large griddle or pan (akin to a teppanyaki) and cook their own food in small portions. The host will prepare lots of freshly chopped vegetables, different types of meats and fish and lots of accompaniments like salads and sauces. All washed down, of course, with plenty of mulled wine, eggnog and advocaat too. Why not try something similar yourself this year and let all the family join in the cooking!

Whichever delicious festive treats you are lucky enough to have this year, we at Flexicover are committed to providing you the highest level of protection to ensure that you are safe and secure, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year when away.