Festive food is a huge part of the holiday season, with Christmas dinner being a time-honored tradition all over the world. While this may be the case, the food that is eaten in different countries varies hugely, so for those wanting to add an international twist to their Christmas meal this year, these are some holiday meals from around the world that you can take some inspiration from.
When it comes to their Christmas dinner, Italy stands apart from the majority of European countries, because rather than feasting on roasted meat, they turn to the sea to put together their Feast of the Seven Fishes. Held on Christmas Eve, this tradition, which comes from Southern Italy, commemorates the wait for the birth of baby Jesus. As expected from its name, the feast features course after course of seafood, with everything from clams to oysters to scallops to many other types of fish.
Fiji is known for its unique customs and traditions, and the Christmas meal here is no exception. A typical Christmas table in Fiji is usually bursting with color, as well as delicious aromas, with everything from fish in banana leaves, garlic stuffed chicken, and pork that has been slow cooked in an underground hot stone oven.
Turkey is a common feature in the Christmas dinners in Israel, but these birds are seasoned with a range of tantalizing spices, from nutmeg to cinnamon to pepper, before being stuffed with rice and almonds. Other popular dishes that often appear on the festive table are Qidreh, a lamb dish that has been cooked in a wood-fired oven, Malfouf, which is rice with ground lamb rolled in cabbage leaves, and sides of hummus, as well as Middle Eastern vegetables.
Christmas dinner in Peru is held on Christmas Eve, and just like in many other countries, roast turkey is the star of the feast. The Peruvian Christmas version usually sees the turkey stuffed with beef and peanuts, and then decorated with fresh cherries and pineapples. After the main meal, marzipan is often served up for dessert, alongside a steaming mug of thick hot chocolate.
When it comes to Christmas dinner, Australia tends to follow the British tradition turkey, but since it is summer rather than winter for them, roasting is not usually the cooking method of choice. Instead, Christmas barbecues are extremely common, and everything from turkey to ham to ribs is cooked up, with a cold Pavlova to follow for dessert.
A traditional Polish Christmas meal always features carp, and this freshwater fish used to be bought in advance and kept alive in buckets until Christmas Eve, to ensure maximum freshness. When it comes time for cooking, the carp is scaled and de-boned, before the flesh is salted and then gently fried in olive oil.
The traditions that you follow for your holiday meal are important, but this does not mean that you cannot mix it up a bit this year, borrowing a few elements from around the world. Whether this means adding a couple of Italian-inspired seafood dishes, or serving up some Peruvian marzipan and hot chocolate for dessert, there are many ways in which you can add some international flair to your Christmas dinner this year.