Christmas is around the corner and many are planning where to be, what to eat and what to do during this wonderful holiday. If you are traveling to Europe, you should know that every country has their own Christmas traditions, especially when it comes to food. But there is one thing that all European countries have in common; friends and family get together and eat great food and enjoy each others company. Here we will introduce some of our destinations favorite food traditions and share with you their recipes. It’s the season to eat and be jolly!
Christmas, or Jul, is the main family event of the year and in Sweden, people travel all around the country to be with their loved ones. Over the last decades, Swedish Christmas traditions have been changing and become somewhat more modern, they have taken up foreign traditions and blended them in with old traditions.
A typical Swedish Christmas table is usually a gathering of; bread, potatoes, ham, meatballs, salmon, and herring. What makes their Christmas table different from others is their amazing Gravad Lax. This delicious raw salmon is a Nordic dish and it is cured in salt, sugar, dill and different spices. It is usually served as an appetizer and is accompanied by gravlaxsås (a dill, mustard sauce) on top of a bread or with boiled potatoes. Here is a recipe for Gravad Lax and the sauce:
The Fish (for 6):
Start by scaling the salmon and remove the small bones, but leave the skin on. Make a few cuts in the skin so the marinade will penetrate from below. Mix salt, sugar, and pepper and sprinkle it beneath and on top of the salmon filet along with plenty of dill. Place a weighted cutting board on top of the salmon filet and let it marinate at room temperature for 2–4 hours. Then refrigerate for 24−48 hours, turning the salmon filet a few times. Rinse the salmon in cold water. Cut into thin slices without getting too close to the skin, so the dark salmon is included.
Gravlax sauce is served alongside the dill-cured salmon. Mix the mustard, sugar and vinegar and season with salt and fresh-ground pepper. Stir vigorously, while pouring on the oil in a steady, thin stream. When the sauce has attained a mayonnaise-like consistency, stir in the chopped dill.
Just like in Sweden, many of their Austrian traditions have been influenced by the countries the countries around them, especially those they have borders with. Vienna is well-known for their beautiful Christmas markets and you will find so many great Christmas decorations being sold, yummy food and candy stalls and so much more. But, there is one thing that you must try, and it will be sold in so many stalls all around, and that is Glühwein. Although Glühwein is originally from Germany, it has really made its name in Austria and you will not be disappointed!
To get the drink right you need the right mixture of wine, cinnamon, sugar and spices and it is sold in Christmas markets all over Europe. We will give you a great recipe for Glühwein but remember that the recipes differ depending on family traditions and countries. Try this one out and add or take out ingredients depending on your taste-buds.
Glühwein (10 servings):
Put all ingredients in a pot and bring it close to boil. For additional taste, cut 2 oranges into bite-size pieces and add to the wine. Let simmer but not boil. Remove cloves and cinnamon sticks before serving it into lightly pre-warmed glasses. Decorate glasses with an orange slice.
Enjoy and remember to drink responsibly!
Hungarians love food, they love to eat, and Christmas is just the season to do that. Their Christmas tables are decorated with green fir twigs, Christmas confectionery, oranges, and red apples. The red apples represent culture, health, and love. Although there are many dishes on the Christmas table there is one in particular that will NOT be absent on Hungarian tables; Halászlé. Halászlé, or Fisherman's soup, is a traditional Hungarian fish soup that was originally prepared by fishermen along the river of Danube and Tisza. However, every region in Hungary have their own fish soup recipe but the soup, in general, consists of a good amount of hot paprika and mixed river fish.
Halászlé (Serves 4):
Cut fish into 3 cm pieces and refrigerate. Heat 1 tbsp oil over medium-low heat, add fish heads and bones and cook, turning once, for 2 minutes. Add 3 litres cold water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve lined with muslin, discarding solids.
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and capsicum, and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes or until softened. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for a further 5 minutes. Add paprika and stir for 1 minute or until fragrant, then return strained stock to the pan. Simmer for 40 minutes and season with salt and pepper. Add fish pieces and simmer for 10 minutes or until just cooked. Season again.
We recommend topping the soup with sour cream and parsley. Enjoy!
If you get a change to try these recipies, we would love to get your feedback on them. Were they tasty?
On our blog you will find travel tips and inspiration across our destinations. You'll find anything from food and drink recommendations to must-see attractions, hidden gems and seasonal events.