Christmas Meals from Around the World

Depending on where you live, how you celebrate the holidays may look very different. Not only do traditions and activities vary, but so do the foods that are commonly found on the Christmas dinner table. Indeed, even in the U.S., popular Christmas foods—and different takes on those foods—can vary regionally. At Nick’s of Calvert, we love that each culture, region, and religion has its own way of doing the holidays, and when you shop with us, you can find the ingredients that you need for whatever you plan to serve. Here’s a look at some common Christmas meals from around the world

Feast of the 7 Fishes – Italy

If you are from Italy or grew up with Italian influence, you may be familiar with the holiday tradition of the “Feast of the Seven Fishes.” While the tradition originates from southern Italy, today, it’s especially popular amongst Italian Americans. Seven is the most repeated number in the bible, and therefore this meal features seven dishes of seafood. Some of the most common types of fish and seafood to be featured are cod, shrimp, calamari, and linguini with a clam or lobster sauce. Yum!

Wigilia – Poland

The traditional Christmas meal in Poland is called Wiglia, and it’s a meal that can’t be started until every member of the family has first participated in the traditional breaking of the wafers. Then, 12 dishes are served for dinner. One of the centerpieces of the meal is the traditional Polish borscht, a type of cabbage soup that is red in color and served throughout the year. In addition to the borscht, one can traditionally find sauerkraut, cabbage rolls, mushroom soup, and dumplings on the table, as well as a variety of sweet foods, such as dried fruits and gingerbread.

Lechón – Puerto Rico

While mainland Americans typically love to serve a roast ham on Christmas, in Puerto Rico, families prepare lechon, or roast suckling pig. The tradition requires multiple days of preparation. Alongside the roast pig, sides that are commonly found include meat pastries wrapped in plantain leaves, coconut-based pudding, and even a version of eggnog that has coconut in it.

Greenland

If you spend the holidays in Greenland, you may be surprised—and perhaps even a little taken aback—by one of the traditional foods you’re sure to find on the table: whale meat. That’s right, whale is a very popular meat to be served during the holidays in this country, and mattak, which is whale blubber that’s wrapped in whale skin, is commonly served. Next to whale meat, reindeer is another popular (and perhaps more palatable for most Americans) dish.

France

Who doesn’t dream of spending Christmas and New Year’s in Paris gazing up at the Eiffel Tower, or in a dreamy and charming village in the French countryside? In either case, you’re sure to be delighted by the food if you’re able to make it to this country for the holidays. Some sort of meat—usually a type of fowl like pheasant or turkey—will likely be the main dish, complete with roasted chestnuts. Alongside the meat, you may find traditional sides such as a classic French gratin, green beans, and roasted brussel sprouts. And don’t forget the cheese! A large cheese platter is a must in any French dinner, and is served before dessert. Finally, the most important part of the French meal is the Buche de Noel, the French version of a yule log cake.

The Philippines

If you’re in the Philippines for the holidays, you’re in for a special treat. During Christmas, both sweet and savory foods can be found upon the table. Aside the roast suckling pig—the traditional meat that’s served during the holidays—you’ll also find the delicacy called puto bumbong. This side features a gelatinous mixture of rice that is soaked overnight, served in a tube of bamboo, and loaded with coconut, butter, and sugar—yum! You might also find ham, noodles, and even Filipino-style spaghetti.

Get Everything You Need for the Holidays at Nick’s of Calvert

Whether you’re preparing a traditional American-style holiday meal or want to do something special by preparing a meal that incorporates different dishes from around the world, Nick’s of Calvert has everything you’re looking for. From specialty meats and cheese to the freshest produce, Nick’s of Calvert makes preparing for the holidays easy. We even have premade sides that just need to be heated, as well as a full selection of wine, beer, and liquor. When the holidays feel stressful, choose Nick’s of Calvert to get all of your grocery shopping done in one place. Call us at (410) 414-7105 with any questions or visit our location on Costley Way today.

The Best Appetizers for the Big Game

There’s nothing better than gathering together with family and friends to enjoy a big game – on T.V. or in person. Whether everyone is getting together to cheer for their favorite team or just enjoy some social time, you’re going to need some great food.

These gatherings aren’t ideal for a sit-down meal; instead, people want things they can carry around on paper plates while they talk and watch the action. So, we’re talking about appetizers. If you’re short on ideas but long on enthusiasm, we can help. Here are some of the best appetizers for the big game to make your next event a winning success.

Simple Baked Chicken Wings

It’s hard to imagine game day without chicken wings. This baked chicken wing recipe is simple and delivers tons of flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 10 chicken wings
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat the foil with butter to prevent sticking.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Then, coat your chicken wings thoroughly with this mixture.
  4. Bake your wings for 30 minutes, turn and bake an additional 15 minutes until crispy.

Five-Cheese Spinach & Artichoke Dip

If you’re going to serve appetizers, you need dip for chips and veggies. Here’s how to make this winner:

Ingredients:

  • 1 jar (6.5 ounces) marinated quartered artichoke hearts
  • 1 jar (12 ounces) roasted sweet red peppers
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen, chopped spinach, thawed, and squeezed dry
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened and cubed
  • 1 ½ cups shredded Asiago cheese
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ⅓ cup shredded provolone cheese
  • ⅓ cup fresh minced basil
  • ¼ cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise

Preparation:

  1. Drain artichokes and save 2 tbsp of the liquid; coarsely chop artichokes. Drain peppers and save 1 tbsp of the liquid; chop peppers.
  2. Coat a 3-quart slow cooker with cooking spray; combine artichoke hearts, peppers, spinach, cheeses, garlic, onion, and mayonnaise. Stir in reserved liquid from pepper and artichokes. Cover and cook on high for two hours.
  3. Stir dip thoroughly and continue cooking until cheese is melted, up to 60 additional minutes. Serve with crackers, chips, or veggies.

Antipasto Kabobs

These snacks on a stick are a fun, delicious, and popular appetizer. They’re even fun to make!

Ingredients:

  • 1 9-ounce package of cheese tortellini
  • 40 thin slices pepperoni
  • 40 pimento-stuffed olives
  • 40 large pitted ripe olives
  • 20 thin slices hard salami, halved
  • ¾ cup Italian salad dressing

Preparation

First, cook your tortellini according to the package instructions; drain and rinse in cold water. In a large bowl, combine the olives, tortellini, and salad dressing. Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours.

Next, drain the mixture and discard the marinade. Using a long toothpick or skewer, make 40 separate kabobs using: a stuffed olive, a folded slice of pepperoni, a tortellini, a folded piece of salami, and an olive.

Barbecue and Beer Meatballs

When it’s game day, your guests want meatballs. It’s a favorite treat, and this recipe aims to please using a combination of barbecue sauce and beer.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds frozen meatballs
  • 12 oz beer (your choice)
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup minced onion
  • ¼ Tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • Pepper

Preparation:

  1. Combine all of your ingredients into a large saucepan over medium heat and toss to coat. Bring your dish to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Ensure you have cooked until the meatballs are thoroughly cooked, and the sauced has thickened.

Note: These can also be prepared in a crockpot.

Fried Pickles

These easy-to-eat treats are a favorite for all ages. Just prepare them in advance and then serve them up with your favorite dipping sauce, like homemade ranch.

Ingredients:

  • 12 large pickle spears, drained and patted dry
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups panko
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Preparation:

  1. Slice pickle spears lengthwise into quarters or spears, depending on their thickness, to create thin spears.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and garlic powder. In two other bowls, places the eggs and then the panko. First, coat the pickles in the flour mixture, then toss them in the eggs, then coat them with panko.
  3. Heat about 1 ½ inches of vegetable oil in a skillet until it reaches about 350 degrees F. Using tongs, place the pickle spears in the hot oil and cook until golden brown, then flip.
  4. Place the cooked spears on paper towels to cool. Serve with ranch dressing.

Visit Nick’s of Calvert for High-Quality Appetizers and Ingredients

Whatever you decide to prepare for Game Day, you’ll want to start with high-quality ingredients. At Nick’s of Calvert, we offer customers a full-service meat counter, which is our store’s centerpiece. We also offer pre-made items at our deli and some of the freshest and most affordable grocery items in the area. Visit us today to pick up all of your appetizer supplies or everything you need for your next special event.