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Delicacies of Christmas Spanish cuisine

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Many of our students who signed up for Basic Spanish after a few meetings said they would like to learn more about Spanish culture and customs . The pre-Christmas period is therefore a great time to learn Spanish culinary traditions and … polish your Spanish phrases! The basics must move smoothly to the intermediate level, after all, the New Year’s resolutions are already written!

The spirit of Spanish holidays

Holidays celebrated in Spain have a completely different atmosphere than holidays celebrated in typical winter wonderlands. This includes, among others completely different weather climate, but also cultural differences. At a time when a cold wind blows in northern countries and the tips of the pines are covered with snow caps, in Spain the weather is definitely friendlier. The temperature of about 20⁰ C prevails especially in the south-western part of the country, as well as in the Canary Islands . Holidays in warmth and in the sun, without winter jackets and hats, have a completely different atmosphere than winter ones. However, it cannot be said that Spain lacks Christmas spirit ! On the contrary. Spaniards decorate their homes with festive decorations, lights and flowers. Plants can survive even outdoors without the risk of frost damage.

There is no fasting during Spanish Christmas

What might be surprising for a lot of people living in countries with strong catholic tradition is the difference in fasting behavior. In Spain it does not apply, so Spanish Christmas Eve is absolutely meat-like. Poultry, pork and lamb appear on the holiday table . There are also rabbit dishes, as well as various fish and seafood dishes. Different regions have their own delicacies, but the Spanish coast is famous for the abundance and variety of Christmas Eve dishes mainly with seafood.  

Christmas in the kitchen begins with appetizers

The Spanish Christmas goes very slowly, and the cooking and preparation of dishes is usually done by all family members. Even before the dinner itself, before everyone is seated at the table, delicious but simple starters are served:

  • thin rolls of ham jamon ,
  • pate made of various types of meats ,
  • seafood served on cold,
  • almond soup.

In some parts of Spain, dinner starts at a fixed time and in others children search for the first star in the sky.

Main courses during Christmas Eve

Nothing says it’s Christmas in Spain like turrón , a nougat made of honey, almonds and other nuts. After having a bite, everyone sits down for a gala dinner of multiple courses. Number of dishes is abundant, and the dinner itself lasts until late at night. One of the main course is roast piglet cochinillo de Navidad or other types of roast – depending on the region. Spain is famous for delicious desserts and various sweets . In addition to traditional nougat, on Christmas Eve you can eat polvorones , i.e. specific shortbread cookies made of flour, butter and chopped nuts. These cakes can have a variety of additional flavors and are very brittle in texture and can sometimes resemble fine, powdery sand. During the Spanish Christmas Eve you can eat a variety of yeast cakes , nut, date and marzipan cakes .

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