Meals for Christmas
The gastronomy of Christmas is the aroma of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger, of unique flavours, of family traditions that, year after year, give us the opportunity to build on those unforgettable memories
on today's menu29 October 2018
And the truth is, there is nothing more endearing than maintaining those family traditions that fill the table with food, no matter how 'old-fashioned' they may seem, they are made with a special kind of love.
Christmas gastronomy encompasses culture, tradition, history and art. The variety of products and traditions passed down from generation to generation are reflected in the kitchen, offering the possibility of tasting excellent traditional dishes, based on local and seasonal products with excellent nutritional qualities and an indisputable flavour. This time of year gives us the opportunity to try recipes with special characteristics in each region.
Tradition dictates the dish and marks the choice of classic seafood (prawns, king prawns, crayfish, clams, razor blades or spider crabs) and fish (sea bream, hake, gilthead or monkfish) without forgetting the roasts of either turkey, capon, kid, suckling pig or rabbit. These dishes cover the whole Spanish geography with their uniqueness.
In the Valencian Community, it is at Christmas when tradition becomes more evident and undeniable with the appreciated 'putxero de Nadal', based on chickpeas, local vegetables (not forgetting the stalks), potatoes, veal, pork or chicken and the historical 'pilota' made of lean minced pork and wrapped in cabbage leaves in some villages.
In other places in the Mediterranean area, such as Catalonia, they enjoy a very complete stew or soup with a type of pasta known as galets. In the Balearic Islands, the stuffed turkey is usually the centrepiece of the table, although on each island there are differences in the former, with the Menorcan cuscussó being a very traditional sweet.
In other areas, such as Aragón, Christmas soups are also established as a classic dish, with the addition of Aragonese lamb, well-roasted in the oven. Murcians choose zarangollo, made with products from Murcia's orchard (courgette and onion) and eggs, or beans with ham as a starter, and vary between meat and fish as the main course. Suckling pig and lamb are the distinguished characters of Castilian Christmas, and the thistle, is never missing from the table of the Riojanos and the Extremeños.
In the north, Cantabrians enjoy mountain snails and fish such as sea bass or sea bream; the latter is also an undeniable protagonist in Basque and Navarrese Christmases, where it shares the billboard with the chilindrón lamb. In Galicia, seafood and cod coexist with roast turkey or chicken, and in Asturias the fabas, chicken and goat in cider alternate with hake and clams or crab. Andalusians enjoy Christmas starting with the aperitif of jabugo ham with seasoned olives and, as the star dish, pork cheeks or truffled turkey.
A special mention is required for the desserts. The variety of options is incredible. From the typical hard or soft turrones, or molasses and gofio, to the mantecados of Soria, the yemas of Ávila, the mandarin gratin, the pastissets of sweet potato, sweet soups with a base of nuts, sugar and milk, or cakes with citrus fruits and aniseed, among other delights.