As Christmas draws nearer, we plan, craft and shop to lay plans for the festivities. Festive food is a big part of Christmas celebrations. So ensuring sure we have everything in supply for family visits and parties is a challenge. Stores each year come out with new creations to tempt us. We choose new flavours and dishes to impress guests. Yet sometimes the most familiar and traditional foods are best. Wrapped up in nostalgia of christmasses gone before. The family favourites are true staples over Christmas.
Of course depending on which country you are from or the traditions you have they may vary. For me I have a mixture of Spanish and British traditions over December and January.
- In the UK the most typical baked treats are mince pies and gingerbread. Christmas pudding and Christmas cake. (seen in the photo above)
- In Spain polvorones, turron (nougat) and mantecados are traditionally eaten throughout December. The Roscon de Reyes (brioche ring cake) comes in January coinciding with Epiphany.
- In Italy Panettone and Pan d´Oro are typical at Christmas. As well as Turrone (nougat) and Zeppole (like a donut texture, seen below on front row)
- In Germany Lebkuchen (spiced chocolate biscuits) and Stollen (like a fruit bread) are the most popular treats.
Mince Pies for Santa?
On Christmas Eve when we expect a visit from Father Christmas. Many leave a drink and snack for Santa before heading to bed. As a child I have memories of leaving mince pies out on a plate by the fire. And carrots outside on the step for the reindeers. However in 2023 perhaps Brandy and a mince pie isn´t the best choice for Santa? Maybe Santa is getting more health concious lately? After all he has to work through the night and keep the sleigh on track, so maybe so much brandy isnt a good thing. Did you know that 36% of brits are doing it wrong?
I wonder what you leave out on the evening of 24th December at your home?
Naughty or Nice?
A curiousity is that children who´ve been naughty in Italy and Spain receive coal in their stockings at Christmas. Traditionally it was real coal. But in modern times its a sugary black treat which looks like coal. You can buy coal candy from supermarkets and sweet stores. Its a reminder to the child in their stocking to be better behaved next year.
Festive Breakfast Ideas
For Christmas breakfast, I enjoy a piece of panettone (with candied orange, raisins etc). With a delicious huge cup of English breakfast tea. As Christmas lunch is a hearty meal I prefer something not to filling or dense for breakfast. So a light panettone with mug of tea is ideal to start the day. Even though we spend lots of time planning lunch on Christmas Day, don´t overlook a festive breakfast.
There is nothing worse than waking up to find that you dont have enough milk for breakfast. Over Christmas when guests come to stay it´s something that can easily be overlooked. Make sure you don´t run out over the holidays. So it´s super handy to have Local milk delivery to your door at this hectic time of year. It´s also one of those wonderful British traditions worth preserving. You dont get it anywhere else in the world.
Photo via Elizabeth Dunne at Unsplash
Dont Skip Breakfast
Even though we have lots of Christmas meals from 24th to 26th December, it´s important not to skip breakfast, to leave room for later. Having breakfast keeps blood sugar and blood pressure regular and can improve cholesterol levels, especially if you choose options such as avocado toast or porridge. Skipping breakfast probably means that you eat worse overall as you are more hungry when you sit down to eat.
Other ideas for a festive breakfast on Christmas Day or Boxing Day are:
- Croissants & Coffee
- Hot Chocolate & Spanish Churros. (you can get frozen churros and prepare them at home)
- Porridge with honey and fresh berries, (Ideal if Christmas lunch is later in the day)
- Smashed avocado with slice tomato on wholemeal toast
- Toasted Teacakes with raspberry jam and hot chocolate
- Cinnamon Rolls