Flavors of Christmas in Spain

Photos courtesy Spain Tourist Office

Christmas delights the palate in Spain. You will have no shortage of opportunities to give way to temptation as you experience Spanish gastronomy during the festive Christmas season.

Dinner on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, lunch on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, along with January 6, Feast of the Epiphany, are the most essential dates. However, throughout the month of December, bars, restaurants and hotels are decked out for the season. Their tables are decorated with candles, bows and Christmas motifs, and they offer special menus and delicious dishes.

Christmas meals are usually copious. They tend to start with a selection of starters and appetizers, either hot or cold. Then comes several courses and dessert. You can try a bit of everything: shellfish, fish, meat, roasted meat, soups, Iberian cured meats—all prepared in an especially delicious way. Some of the most popular foods include turkey, lamb, red cabbage, sea bream, oysters, elvers and ham. As the dishes are served, you will see how hard it is to resist. And to accompany them are good Spanish wines, both white and red. At the end of the meal, good wishes are toasted with a glass of cava sparkling wine or cider.

Sweets deserve a mention of their own, filling the table with color when it is time for dessert. Made with almonds, honey, sugar, chocolate and fruit, among other ingredients, they are a real treat for those with a sweet tooth. There is a wide array, and each region of Spain has its own typical recipes. However, the real star at Christmas is “turrón,” with a flavor admired around the world.

There are many different types of turrón, but you should try the Jijona variety—soft and sweet—and the Alicante type, which is hard and crunchy. Other traditional desserts are marzipan, polvorones (a crumbly shortbread) and mantecados (made with almonds and lard). Finally, on January 6, Day of the Three Kings (Epiphany), children are excited to receive their presents, while grownups get to savour a Roscón de Reyes (seasonal cake) with a cup of hot chocolate.

Roscón de Reyes
Roscón de Reyes

For more info, go to Spain Tourism

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