Christmas Delicacies Across Europe

December 15, 2017

Every country across Europe celebrates Christmas in their own unique way, and that includes traditional culinary delights. One of the most enjoyable ways to experience other European cultures is to sample some of the wonderful European Christmas food on offer. From hearty German fruit breads, to some surprising French festive treats, there’s plenty to discover on a culinary Christmas tour of Europe.

 

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Stollen in Germany

What better way to celebrate a typically German Christmas than with a slice of stollen. This traditional fruit bread delicacy is made with raisins and almonds, orange and lemon peel, and plenty of spices like cinnamon and cardamom. With a sprinkling of icing sugar and an accompanying glass of Glühwein, it’ll certainly help you get that festive feeling.

Stollen first became popular in the Saxony region of Germany in the 15th century. Although the Advent season was considered to be a time of fasting, Prince Elector Ernst of Saxony wrote to the Pope to ask for permission to allow the region’s bakers to use butter for their stollen treats. Eventually the Catholic Church relented, and the ban on butter was removed which is great news for us, as the Saxon bakers originally had to use turnips to make the butter substitute!

Whilst you can now see stollen on many UK supermarket shelves, there’s nowhere better to sample this famous German delicacy than by heading to one of the legendary Christmas markets in Dresden, Berlin, Cologne or Munich.

 

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Kutia in Poland

If you are lucky enough to be in Poland this Christmas Eve, then be sure to try a bowl of kutia. This sweet dish is made with wheat berries, honey, nuts, raisins, and those all-important poppy seeds that give kutia that distinctive festive taste.

Whilst kutia is also a popular European Christmas food in Ukraine and Belarus, it’s become an essential part of the Christmas festivities in Poland. What’s fascinating about kutia is the way that each Polish family has their own distinctive take on this classic recipe with almonds, figs and even parts of oranges making an appearance.

So if you’re ever in Katowice, Krakow or Warsaw, be sure to add a touch of sweetness to your Christmas with some kutia.

 

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Speculoos in Belgium

Some Christmas delicacies even allow their creators to get a little artistic. This is definitely the case with Belgian speculoos that feature images of animals, nativity scenes, and even Saint Nicholas on one side of this popular festive treat.

Speculoos are very thin biscuits that have a wonderfully crunchy texture. With ingredients including flour, sugar, butter and just a hint of spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, it’s one of the more simple European Christmas foods to enjoy, but no less delicious.

Because as speculoos won’t fill you up too much, they won’t stop you enjoying the wonders of walking around picturesque Belgian cities like Bruges, Brussels and Antwerp.

 

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Escargots in France

If you’re looking to experience a European Christmas with a difference, then be sure to add some escargots to your festive dinner.

No French Christmas feast would be complete without an entree of escargot, and whilst eating snails might be an acquired taste, when they are cooked with plenty of garlic, butter and wine, they will certainly add some character to your meal.

Escargots have been part of Mediterranean diets since prehistoric times. But regardless of whether you sample this delicacy in Calais or Cannes, then be sure to find out more about how DFDS can take you to France to experience the very best in escargots cuisine.

 

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Banketstaaf in Holland

Whilst banketstaaf is a fairly simple festive treat, it’s hugely popular all across Holland. All Dutch bakeries take great pride in serving up this light and airy delicacy that’s made of puff pastry and almond paste, and if you’re lucky, you’ll get a single almond on top too.

Although banketstaaf is typically eaten on 5 December, you can look forward to enjoying this sweet and crispy treat all throughout the festive season. Be sure to keep an eye out for the banketletter that uses the same ingredients, but can be shaped into an initial as a gift for a friend or family member.

 

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And of course, mince pies!

What would the great British Christmas be without the humble mince pie? It’s thought that families in the UK eat over 300 million mince pies every festive season, and whether you enjoy them with brandy butter or cream, there’s nothing like a mince pie for bringing some Christmas cheer.

Whilst we think of mince pies as a typically British treat, they are actually derived from cooking methods brought back from the Holy Land during the Crusades. By mixing shredded meats, dried fruits, and spices like cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon, it provided a welcome counterpoint to the sometimes dour diet endured by British families in the Middle Ages.

But while we can all indulge a little too easily on the classic British mince pie, it’s good to know that we can take a trip to Europe to try some other mouth-watering European Christmas foods this winter.

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