If you’re lucky enough to already own a Spanish property, you’ll know that Christmas in Spain is celebrated, above all else, at the table. The holiday season starts with a huge dinner on Christmas Eve and doesn’t let up until the final slice of Roscón de Reyes cake is finished on Three Kings Day on January 6th!
This article outlines some of the most popular dishes and delicacies that are eaten throughout the festive period including tapas, starters, mains and the all-important pudding!
Usually at the start of the festive season, before the large meal on Christmas eve, tapas is often enjoyed amongst family members.
Christmas tapas dishes include;
- Entremeses (Hors d’oeuvres) – These act as a large appetiser plate amongst other tapas dishes. The plate may contain Spanish meats such as ham, chorizo, morcilla (black pudding) as well as local cheeses and olives.
- Boiled shrimp – You might start to notice a theme with seafood in this article, but a Spanish tapas table is never complete without shrimp!
- Cured ham croquettes – This is a must at Spanish Christmas dinners and more of this delectable cured ham is sold in December than in anyother month of the year!
- Cava – Not technically a tapas dish, but the Spanish version of French Champagne almost always accompany tapas, especially during the holidays.
It’s no secret that the Spanish enjoy their food, with daily meals consisting of 3-5 courses being commonplace over the festive period. After a trove of tapas and entrées, you’ll be served the second course which is most often a light, brothy soup or a salad.
Popular dishes include;
- Galets soup – This soup is particularly popular in northern Spain. Galets are huge pasta shells, which are usually stuffed with mincemeat and eaten floating around in a meaty soup.
- Seafood soup – The parade of seafood does not stop at tapas. Many of the most traditional first courses during a Spanish Christmas meal consist of a soup made from clams, mussels and shrimp, as well fish like monk or hake.
- Light salad – A salad is also very common as a starter in Spain’s holiday meals. Salads are usually very simple and drizzled with a light dressing like vinegar or olive oil.
We hope you’re not full after your first two courses as following on from your starter comes the main event. If you’re thinking of inviting family to your Spanish property this Christmas, a traditional Spanish meal wouldn’t consist of a roast turkey with all the trimmings but a few other common types of meat including;
- Cochinillo Asado – Or known to us as ‘roast suckling pig’. This is a Christmas favourite in many parts of Spain and is cooked on a bed of onions and potatoes until the skin is brown and crispy.
- Roast lamb – This is probably the most common meat to be slow-roasted and served on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day (depending on your personal traditions).
- Seafood – Many households ditch roasted meat altogether and instead opt for seafood including lobster or baked gilt which is usually freshly caught that week.
If you want to do things properly in your Spanish property, then you should serve your chosen meat with big bowls of potatoes, salads and freshly baked bread that guests can help themselves to.
Just when you think the eating has ended, a dessert table awaits. Unlike in the UK, where families would usually light the Christmas pudding or indulge on mince pies, Spanish households often lay on a dessert spread for individuals to help themselves to for the remainder of the night.
A dessert table might consist of;
- Roscón de Reyes – This is the Spanish version of a Christmas cake. Essentially it is a sweet bread ring topped with pieces of candied fruit and sometimes filled with cream. Although it is eaten throughout the whole Christmas period, it is traditionally enjoyed on the ‘Feast of Epiphany’ on January 6, also known as Three Kings’ Day.
- Lemon and olive oil cake – An incredibly moist cake that would go perfectly with a post-lunch coffee.
- Turrón – This is the most typical sweet treat to enjoy after a larger dinner. It is a nougat typically made from almonds from the Alicante region. Turrón is available to buy in almost any Spanish Christmas market, or there are dozens of recipes for you to try making it yourself!
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