Sausages with potato salad on Christmas Eve, goose on Christmas – these are classics on German plates. But what about the international holiday kitchen? A look beyond the horizon.
“Hyvää joulua”, “Gud Jul”, “Buon Natale” and “С Новым годом”. These are Christmas greetings in Finnish, Swedish and Italian and Happy New Year in Russian. What’s served up during the holidays in the north, south and east sounds at least as good.
Finland: Rice pudding and ham by the kilo
Because Santa Claus lives in Finland , a first look at the banquet far up north. A classic is Joulukinkku, the Christmas ham: For this, a large ham, often weighing up to ten kilos, is cured four to five days before consumption and then baked in the oven. Mustard, sugar and breadcrumbs provide a crust. Garnished with peas, boiled prunes or pieces of apple, the roast comes on the table, accompanied by a casserole of potatoes, carrots or swedes.
For the Finn Erica Löfman, who lives in Berlin, this classic is not an option. She skips meat and gets into the Christmas spirit with a Finnish classic: “One of my favorite dishes I prepare every Christmas is warm rice pudding, which is sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar and served with a dash of milk in the bowl,” says the art director. “We eat it on Christmas morning – which we celebrate on December 24, by the way.”
Christmas dinner in Sweden: Julbord buffet with herring and Kottbullar
Just like in Finland, mulled wine is drunk in Sweden in the run-up to Christmas. Depending on taste, the red wine in the Glögg is supplemented with Korn or vodka. “In addition, raisins and almonds are offered, which are placed in the warm glogg,” reports Karin Fornander, Swedish colleague of Erica Lofman.
And at Christmas dinner? The Swede likes the tradition of her home country that families and friends meet at the buffet at Christmas when a Julbord is served. Fish should not be missing there, for example, depending on the region, pickled herring in dill, curry or mustard sauce, smoked or pickled salmon, crabs or smoked eel.
“Lutfisk is also a delicacy for the older generation,” says Karin Fornander. “It’s a traditional Nordic Christmas dish where dried fish is soaked and given a special texture.” Julbord’s classic meat dishes also include K0ttbullar meatballs, small Prinskorv smoked sausages and Julskinka ham, served with sweet mustard.
Traditional Christmas food in Italy: hearty sausage with lentils
The question of a classic Italian Christmas dinner is not easy to answer, says food blogger Torsten Schäfer. There are many Italian regional cuisines that differ in cooking traditions and dishes. He not only publishes recipes on dishes-delicious.de , but also conducts cooking talks. Asked for a hearty tip, Schäfer recommends the classic “ Cotechino with lentils ”.
Cotechino is a cooked sausage stuffed with chopped lean and fatty pork. “It is closely related to the zampone, a stuffed pig’s foot, which is also one of the classic Italian Christmas dishes,” says Torsten Schäfer. However, he likes the cotechino a little better. “Whereas the zampone has the meat in the thick pig’s foot, the cotechino has a much thinner skin. It makes the dish more tender and delicate.”
Russia: Blinis with vegan caviar
Tatjana Zielke, who was born in Russia and lives in Leipzig, reports that in her native Russia, “the tables bend” especially on New Year’s Eve: “Then only the best is served,” says Zielke and explains: “Christmas is also celebrated in Russia , namely on January 7th. It is an important holiday, but the New Year, and therefore New Year’s Eve, plays a more important role in Russia.”
On December 31st, the gifts would then be presented, but not by Santa Claus, but by Father Frost and his Snow Maiden. “New Year’s Eve is the most important holiday in Russia, lots of food is cooked and the holidays last until January 10th,” says the blogger, who, as Veganuschka , makes a vegetarian version of traditional Russian dishes.
For example, she serves blinis (pancakes) with vegan caviar. For the dough she uses wheat and buckwheat flour, oat milk and coconut blossom sugar. The filling gets a fishy note from vegan caviar, algae, nori leaves and seaweed.