December 9, 2014

Enjoy a couple of mantecados with a warm drink during your Spanish Christmas

I have to admit, apart from getting together with all my family and loved ones, the best part of Christmas for me is the food. From succulent slices of turkey smothered in my Mum's homemade gravy, to lashings of brandy cream over the festive puds, food doesn't get much better than Christmas Day dinner. But what about everywhere else in Europe? If you're thinking of crossing the Channel with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle this Christmas, then you'll love my little guide to festive foodie traditions, which explores all sorts of festive classics, from Germany's lebkuchen to Spain's turrón. So, all you need to do now is make sure you're hungry enough for all of this delicious food.

Enjoy a Dutch Christmas

In the Netherlands, people are known to enjoy two different types of meals. The first is a traditional course of either beef, duck or rabbit, with vegetables and salads, whereas the second, known as 'gourmet', is a mixture of smoked fish, prawns and meats served alongside salads - it's said to have come about during the colonisation of Indonesia.

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Yummy appelbeignets from the Netherlands

As well the savoury dishes, the Dutch eat plenty of sweet delights over the festive period. Tuck into deep-fried ice cream, and apple and almond filled donuts called appelbeignets. Or enjoy slices of kerststol, a fruit-laced Dutch Christmas bread that is very similar to Germany's stollen.

Indulge in France with Réveillon

Réveillon is the name of a large feast and celebration that the people of France enjoy on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. For starters, you can expect to indulge in a range of delectable dishes, such as lobster, escargot and foie gras. For the main meal, many people serve turkey stuffed with chestnuts, whereas others often serve roasted goose - it all depends on the region in which you're staying.
Quality wines are sipped throughout the meal and champagne is served alongside dessert, which is often bûche de Noël, a chocolate yule log that is dusted with icing sugar and decorated with festive knick-knacks.

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Dig into a slice of bûche de Noël

Get festive during Spain's La Noche Buena

Christmas Eve in Spain is known as La Noche Buena, or good night, where family and friends come together after midnight mass to eat a delicious meal. To begin, Spanish families often serve up a collection of tasty appetisers, such as jamón with cheese, chorizo and langoustines. Roasted lamb, seafood or turkey stuffed with truffles are just some of the dishes that are prepared for the main Christmas dinner, all of which are helped down with a glass of fine Rioja.

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Sticky and sweet turrón

For something sweet, treats such as the almond-filled nougat, turrón, and the Spanish shortbreads, mantecados are firm favourites. If you stay there long enough to ring in the New Year, be sure to try a slice of Rosca de Reyes; it's the Spanish version of France's galette des rois , or king's cake. Covered in candied fruit and layers of icing sugar, this is the perfect celebration cake.

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Celebrate with a slice of rosca de reyes

Celebrate Weihnachten in Germany

For Christmas Eve, families in Germany are treated to weisswurst sausages and smoked corned ham, known as schäufele, with potato salad. Once they awaken on Christmas day, they can look forward to either goose, roasted carp or even sometimes suckling pig for larger parties of people, with most meats being served with large helpings of red cabbage, kale and roasted potatoes.

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Enjoy grilled weisswurst on Christmas Eve in Germany

Festive desserts in Germany tend to be full of flavour and infused with various sweet spices, such as lepkuchen, which is very similar to ginger bread and is often found in Christmas Market stalls with "ich liebe dich" (I love you) iced onto them. Another favourite is stollen, a type of fruit cake that has a role of marzipan inside it, and is dusted with icing sugar - it goes perfectly with a warming mug of glühwein, which is the German version of mulled wine.

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Treat yourself to some tasty lebkuchen

Ho, ho, ho, feeling peckish?

If you're planning on a trip to Europe this Christmas, then make sure you travel with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle . It only takes 35-minutes to travel across the Channel, so you'll have plenty of time left to eat the delicious festive meals featured above.

Photo Credits:
Appelbeignets from the Netherlands @ Teunie
Bûche de Noël @ appaIoosa
Turrón @ Tamorlan
Mantecados @ keith Williamson
rosca de reyes
Weisswurst in Germany @ Christian Bier

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