A Taste of European Christmas Dinners

Here in the UK we are used to the sight of a delicious roast turkey, Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes, and all of the trimmings. Your mouth waters just thinking about it! However, Christmas dinners differ throughout the whole of Europe, with octopus on the menu, let’s look at what you could expect on the Christmas table in different countries.


Belgium families gather around on Christmas eve to enjoy a large meal and open the presents under the tree. Your Christmas eve meal will kick off with a drink and some nibbles, then lead into a seafood course. Next up is a mouth watering turkey with all the trimming, followed on by a succulent Kerststronk (Flemish) or la bûche de Noël (Walloon) better known to us as a chocolate yule log! You can find our recipe to create your own log here. In the week running up to Christmas time is spent enjoying some enever (gin) or Glühwein (hot wine) and munching on some Smoutebollen/oliebollen (deep fried sweet dumplings) at the Christmas market!


In the Netherlands Christmas is spread out over two days, with the 25th as Eerste Kerstdag (First Christmas Day) and the 26th as Tweede Kerstdag (Second Christmas Day). Both days are public holidays, so families get to enjoy an extended festive break! Traditionally foods such as spices, white flour, dried almonds and sugar were reserved only for the Christmas feast as they were deemed to expensive to eat throughout the year. Now these foods are enjoyed all year through, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t some special treats that only come out for Christmas though! Kruidnoten (ginger nuts), advocaat (egg-yolk liquour) and bischopswijn (Dutch mulled wine) will only be enjoyed when December rolls around!


December 24th is the day for feasting in Norway. Depending on what part of Norway you are in depends on what you might find on the table, from lamb ribs to stockfish could be up for grabs, but you will mostly likely be greeted with Ribbe (roast pork belly) which is traditionally served with boiled potatoes, sausages, meat cakes, prunes, lingonberries and pickled cabbage. Rice pudding is often eaten of Christmas eve, either as a lunchtime meal or as desert after your feast!


Here a special feast is shared on Christmas eve to end a day of fasting, this is called Consoada. You wont find any fats or hard to digest meats here, instead prefer for a some beautifully prepared fish! Portuguese Bacalhau (salted cod) is sure to be taking centre stage. You can find our recipe for Bacalhau a bras here. Some regions will opt for Polvo (octopus). Starters can include shrimp turnovers (Rissois de Camarao) and you will need to save room for some Bolo Rei, which is a king cake, you can find our recipe here, it is truly mouth-watering and is sure to be a hit at your next Christmas party.

Do you have some more obscure foods that you eat at Christmas? We would love to see what your Christmas table looks like. If you send us a picture or tag us on Facebook or Instagram you could see your picture in our subscribes magazine!

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