Food plays a huge part at Christmas and a lot of us Brits look forward to tucking into a traditional turkey roast with all the trimmings. However have you have wondered how this differs for other countries and what culinary delights they will be eating on the big day?


Swedes eat their main Christmas meal on Christmas Eve. Traditionally it is a big family affair with 3 or 4 generations sharing the meal. The Swedish julbord or “Christmas table” usually begins with cold fish dishes, then meats, hot food, and dessert. In most instances, the table features a Christmas ham, boiled then glazed with eggs, breadcrumbs and mustard – and served cold.


In Japan, Christmas is more of a time to spread happiness rather than a religious celebration. Fried chicken is often eaten on Christmas Day. It is the busiest time of year for restaurants such as KFC and people have to place orders at their local fast food restaurant well in advance. The tradition began in 1974 when the chicken brand created an advertising campaign called “Kentucky for Christmas” and it became popular. The traditional Japanese Christmas food is Christmas cake, but it’s not a rich fruit cake, instead it is usually a strawberry shortcake.


Christmas in Australia is in the middle of Summer and the main meal is normally eaten at lunch time. Most people choose to have a cold Christmas dinner, or a barbecue with seafood such as prawns and lobsters.


In Germany Santa brings the presents in the late afternoon/early evening of Christmas Eve hence the meal on Christmas Eve is something fairly simple such as baked karp or smoked sausages and potato salad. Before Santa makes an appearance in the afternoon, families sit together and have Stollen – a fruit bread of nuts, spices and dried fruit topped with powdered icing sugar as well as home made biscuits and sharing the gingerbread house, called Pfefferkuchenhaus. For anyone living in Germany, the Glühwein phenomenon is unavoidable, with every drink-serving establishment creating a homemade version of this spiced mulled wine as early as mid-November (Visit our recipe page to make your own mulled wine). The Christmas Day meal traditionally includes roasted goose or duck with potato dumplings and red cabbage.


The main dinner takes place on On Christmas Eve and the most popular dish in Norway is ‘Ribbe’ – roasted pork, served with sauerkraut and boiled potatoes. The choice of food varies depending on the area of Norway you are from with another popular dish being Pinnekjøtt (ribs of lamb or mutton).


In America, Christmas dinner resembles Thanksgiving – there is turkey or ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy. This is commonly washed down with eggnog, which is a drink made with milk, egg yolks, rum or whiskey, and spices.


Christmas Eve dinner is called Le Réveillon in France. It traditionally occurs late on Christmas Eve, once everyone has returned from midnight mass, and goes on until the early hours of the morning. The meal typically includes a variety of items, including oysters, foie gras, a chestnut-stuffed roast turkey, and a variety of cheeses. The main dessert is often bûche de Noël, or Yule log.

Our Favourite Christmas Food


I always get excited about baking some homemade cookies. We usually make a batch of Swiss inspired ‘Mailänderli’ which are simple lemon flavoured biscuits (really easy to make), and which the kids can attack just after baking with all sorts of sticky sweet decorations. My personal favourite Christmas time biscuit has to be a “Vanillekipferl”… crescent shaped vanilla flavoured YUM. 


I love a really good traditional mince pie. They’re always best eaten fresh straight out of the oven (without burning your mouth!), and preferably washed down with a decent glass of Port or a hot mulled cider. 

Did you know the ingredients for the modern mince pie can be traced to the return of European crusaders from the Holy LandIn my opinion the more butter in them the better, and there has to be a proper amount of juicy fruit and lovely spice filling to keep me smiling! 🙂