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.
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.
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.
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.