Christmas Dinner

Global Christmas Cuisines

All around the world people look forward to Christmas, for some it’s about family, for others it’s about tradition and for many it’s about the food. Christmas dinner is something people look forward to every year but what is served varies from country to country. Traditional Christmas dishes from all over the world provide an insight into various food ingredients used and how people indulge during the holiday.

Here are some global Christmas dishes we have decided to shine a light on…


Christmas dinner centuries ago, a lamb would be cooked by wealthy people in a culinary soup called kjötsúpa while poorer people would eat ptarmigan, a game bird. Times have changed and now ptarmigan is a popular dish among all Icelanders and is a staple of their Christmas dinner along with ham and smoked lamb. Potatoes, beans and peas are then added as sides to this already large meal. A common practice is to combine the ptarmigan juices with blackberries, a pinch of thyme, cream, brown cheese and flour to make a delicious blackberry sauce. The sauce compliments the dish to make this a must try Christmas dinner.


Cuban Christmas is celebrated on Christmas Eve or Noche Buena as they call the occasion. From 1969 to 1997 Castro’s regime outlawed Christmas. Due to this lost time it is seen as one of the most important holidays in the Cuban calendar and is a day of celebration for food, family and faith. Traditionally the meal begins at midnight and has a roast pork centrepiece. Accompanying the roast pork centrepiece is sides such as rice, black beans, fried plantains, yucca and rum cake for dessert. The preparation for the meal begins on December 23rd when the pork centrepiece begins its long soak in a citrus garlic marinade named adobo.


Jamaican Christmas has a strong focus on sharing time with family and friends, and there is no better way to get people together than food. They have been mastering mealtime for generations and take great pride in their cooking abilities. With the use of some mouth-watering seasoning combinations they ensure a truly “belly” fulfilling experience. The use of culinary sauces such as curry is an important part of traditional Jamaican cuisine. Goat curry is the most common dish at a Jamaican Christmas dinner and when cooked right, the tender meat and flavourful seasoning combined with rice and peas, makes for a delicious meal.


Unlike Christmas dinner in Ireland, the Brazilian Christmas dinner is served late at night on Christmas Eve with the celebrations continuing throughout the night. The traditional centrepiece in Brazil for Christmas dinner is known as a chester. A chester is a genetically modified chicken to have more meat concentrated in the chest and back area. Salted cod is also commonly eaten for special occasions in Brazil, and Christmas is no exception! Usually it is soaked overnight to remove the salt and once this is complete it is then seasoned, rolled up into balls and deep fried. Christmas falls in the middle of the Brazilian summer so with this in mind the sides consist of salads and cold dishes such as bowls of dried fruits, mixed nuts, ham, cheese, a bowl of rice that is fried with garlic before being seasoned then boiled, and the Brazilian equivalent of roast potatoes which is a cold potato salad mixed with chopped apples and raisins.

Let’s cook

If you are interested in introducing some global cuisines to your Christmas range, contact The Culinary Food Group and our chefs can work with you on developing dishes from all around the world!