Those who left their hometown know that food is an expression of cultural identity. Recipes are passed down from one generation to another, from place to place, and Christmas is the time to honor your roots and prepare family recipes for your intimate circle, no matter where you are or who you will spend this Christmas with. From Barbados to Denmark, these are five traditional dishes to keep in mind:
Cozido à Portuguesa has been a part of Portuguese gastronomy for centuries. The recipe has evolved over time, but the main ingredients have been kept the same. They vary from region to region, but usually involve beans, potatoes, carrots and meats such as chicken, pork ribs, bacon and pork ear. Slow-cooked to perfection, results are wholesome and tasty. The one and only Madeiran-born chef to hold a Michelin Star, Luis Pestana at William Restaurant, is well-known for his creative approach to the traditional dish that combines smoky meat flavours with the exquisite taste of crawfish.
Spending Christmas in Australia is a fascinating experience to have. With December being one of the hottest months of the year, locals tend to gather on the beach for a leisurely barbeque. From shrimp to lamb and from pork to the fresh catch of the day, December 25th is an excellent day also to celebrate the beginning of summer. But of course there are families who sit down at home for proper lunch and savor turkey, roasted glazed ham, oysters, scotch eggs... a feast of flavors before the Christmas Crackers’ crack. Star at the table: Pavlova, a meringue cake with a crisp crust and soft, light inside, usually topped with fruit and whipped cream.
Risalamande is a Christmas dessert made of rice pudding, whipped cream, vanilla, almonds and cherry sauce on top. It became quite popular after World War II, when rice was an exclusive ingredient to have. It is said that the dessert was originally created in Copenhagen, at Luxury Hotel D'Angleterre, on a late night as the chef had to make a dessert using leftovers (a pot of cold rice). To make the dish more inviting, he mixed almonds and whipped cream together with the rice pudding – chop, chop, chop, whip, whip, whip – a trickle of cherry syrup on top and voilà: Risalamande!
No Christmas in Scotland is complete without Mince Pie. Initially served as a main dish because of the meat filling used to be mutton, beef, rabbit, pork or venison; today it is sweet and filled with dried fruits and spices mix. Historically considered as a very special dish to offer, it was served even during the coronation of King Henry V of England in the 15th century. One of the finest Mince Pie that can be tasted nowadays is the one prepared by Pastry Chef Ross Sneddon, at Palm Court restaurant in Edinburg. His version has a creamy and rich filling made of a spicy mix of dried fruits, berries, sultanas, apples and candied peels.
It takes up to three weeks to bake the Bajan Black Cake but, like Sandals Royal Barbados Executive Sous Chef Desmond Marshall says, this doesn’t stop people from preparing it, especially for Christmas. Typical of the Caribbean cuisine, this delicacy was inspired by the British’s Figgy Pudding recipe when brandy got replaced with Barbados rum (taking advantage of abundantly available brown sugar.) The dark coloured cake also comprises dried fruits such as prunes, raisins, currants, cherries, and candied citrus peel which are aged in copious amount of rum and port.
Tell us about your traditional dish using the #luxosmagazine hashtag on instagram, and Merry Christmas from the LUXOS team!