12 Dec 2017
Enjoy CHRISTMAS. Traditions of its gastronomy.
THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS IS UNIVERSAL
Christmas Day is a holiday in many, but not all, countries. Many homes have Christmas trees and other decorations in the weeks leading to Christmas Day. Some workplaces hold Christmas parties prior to December 25. Festive activities include exchanging presents, singing Christmas songs, going to parties.
It’s a special time when children get presents from family, friends and Santa Claus. Christmas cards are also given or sent out prior to Christmas Day.
For some, Christmas is an exclusive family affair, while others invite friends to a Christmas buffet or pot luck meal. Churches have special services and may include a miniature Nativity scene.
Christmas, in the Western world, is a holiday of religious origin that is celebrated every December 25 and commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ.
In Catalonia and Barcelona you will be surprised by a whole series of different and unique rituals and customs. The kick-off of the celebrations is given by the Christmas lights.
Christmas is a celebration that, in Catalonia, is lived in family and around a table full of traditional dishes. Strong soups, poultry, salads with seasonal vegetables and nougat can not miss.
During the Christmas there are three special dates in which gastronomy has a special role:
Christmas Eve dinner. In Catalonia, Christmas Eve dinner is traditionally very simple and modest. A chicken or fish broth is the perfect preamble to the cold appetisers that come next. This is the moment to enjoy cured sausage from Osona, mountain cheeses and pâté from La Llacuna, anchovies and boiled seafood. Accompanied by large slices of toasted country bread, quince garlic mayonnaise and olives, no dinner is easier to prepare. Nor more appetising.
Christmas Day lunch. Baby Jesus has come into the world and it is time to celebrate! First course, escudella, a typical soup with pasta and meatballs. Then, a tray of stewed meat, vegetables and well-boiled chickpeas. In many homes, the celebration continues with a black cockerel from Penedès or a blue-legged capon from El Prat de Llobregat – stuffed Catalonian-style with sausage, bacon, prunes and pine nuts. For dessert, biscuit rolls and handmade nougat from the region of Maresme. All washed down with wine and cava from any of Catalonia’s five denomination of origin regions: Penedès, Pla del Bages, Alella, Catalunya and Cava. Essential for enjoying the age-old specialities that await us on the Christmas Day table.
Saint Stephen’s Day lunch. The main meal of this Catalonian celebration is based on a principle that is well known by cooks from all around the world: that the best dishes are made from leftovers. This is why the cannelloni served in almost every house on Saint Stephen’s Day and made with any meat left over from the soup of the day before tastes so delicious. Many cooks also add truffles from Berguedà to the filling to make sure that the cannelloni is the star of a meal that is traditionally followed by a good baked fish.
It is part of the culture to read some poems during family gatherings in these Christmas Holidays.
The kings they came from out the south,
All dressed in ermine fine;
They bore Him gold and chrysoprase,
And gifts of precious wine.
The shepherds came from out the north,
Their coats were brown and old;
They brought Him little new-born lambs–
They had not any gold.
The wise men came from out the east,
And they were wrapped in white;
The star that led them all the way
Did glorify the night.
The angels came from heaven high,
And they were clad with wings;
And lo, they brought a joyful song
The host of heaven sings.
The kings they knocked upon the door,
The wise men entered in,
The shepherds followed after them
To hear the song begin.
The angels sang through all the night
Until the rising sun,
But little Jesus fell asleep
Before the song was done.