Christmas inspiration from around the world

Christmas fare: Add a little bit of international flavour to your table this Christmas with some traditional recipes. Photo: Shutterstock
Christmas fare: Add a little bit of international flavour to your table this Christmas with some traditional recipes. Photo: Shutterstock

Christmas is celebrated around the world in a thousand different ways, but what many countries have in common is enjoying delicious food.

In Australia, it's all about the summer salads, seafood and cooking on the barbie, but here are a few ideas to add a little bit of international flavour to your table.

Bring a taste of France to your Christmas fare with some caviar or smoked salmon on blinis to begin your meal. Oysters can also be served as an appetiser along with Coquilles Saint-Jacques (scallops with herbs and cheese served in little shells). Other festive treats include foie gras and turkey stuffed with chestnuts.

Of course, no meal would be complete without a glass of Champagne or two.

In the UK, most Christmas dinners will feature turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, lashings of gravy, cranberry sauce, and vegetables such as carrots, turnips and parsnips.

If you don't enjoy turkey, chicken, roast beef, or ham can also be served. For vegetarians, a nut roast complements all the classic roast dinner trimmings.

Love them or hate them; it's not Christmas dinner unless there are brussel sprouts. This controversial vegetable comes into season in winter but can be found almost year-round in supermarkets.

Some cooks like to boil them until they almost disintegrate, and others prefer them al dente. If you have never enjoyed sprouts, why not try them roasted with balsamic vinegar, garlic, bacon and a sprinkle of roasted almonds on top. Simply delicious.

Add a little touch of drama to the end of your meal and pour brandy over your pudding, and light it up. For a better flame, gently warm up the brandy first. Just make sure all flammable objects are moved away first.

In Iceland, roast lamb is the traditional dish, while it's a delicious ham in Sweden.

Suckling pig is served in Puerto Rico, and in Portugal, Christmas dinner usually features cod and potatoes.

Originating from North America, eggnog is a favourite festive tipple. It's made from milk, cream, bourbon, nutmeg or cinnamon and eggs whites.

The Christmas Stollen (Christstollen) comes from Germany; it's a delicious fruit cake packed with dried fruit and marzipan that melts in your mouth.

Panettone from Italy is also equally scrumptious. Recognised by its domed shape, panettone is more a bread than a cake. Its sweet dough is studded with candied fruits and raisins. It often comes beautifully wrapped and can make a lovely gift.

Did you know?

In Japan, Kentucky Fried Chicken is synonymous with Christmas.

Thanks to a brilliant marketing campaign in the 1970s, Japanese people have celebrated Christmas by eating KFC chicken.

This story What yuletide looks like around the globe first appeared on The Canberra Times.