What do people eat in Spain at Christmastime? Traditional Spanish Christmas foods
As with all meals, the Spanish simply want to eat well. The Christmas and new year season calls for food prepared to please. Meals around this time are celebratory gatherings that go on deep into the night and include plenty of sweets and flowing wine. Read on to find out what people typically eat in Spain at Christmastime.
Sopa de Galets
This is a typical soup that’s served across Catalonia for Christmas. The galets are large shell-shaped pasta and are sometimes stuffed with minced meat or simply served floating with a delicious broth.
The Spanish want to eat well and for an occasion like Christmas, they spare no expense. It’s common to see seafood at the Christmas Eve dinner, which typically includes prawns or lobster, either fresh or in a seafood soup or stew.
In Spain, a large board of the country’s most famous offerings – jamón, chorizo, morcilla (blood sausage), manchego cheese – can be shared and eaten. Entremeses usually consist of these starters that will set the scene for the upcoming Christmas Eve meal. It’s also the prime time to eat jamón (when is it not?) as many people gift a full leg of ham to slice away at over the year.
Roast Lamb or Suckling Pig
Both roast lamb and suckling pig are traditionally eaten in the region of Castilla y León, however, many Spaniards will eat one of these at their Christmas Eve dinner.
Polvorones and Mantecados
Polvorones and mantecados are similar cookies that can be found around Christmastime twisted into colourful paper packaging. Polvorones are called that (polvo means dust) because of their light, powdery texture. A mantecado is made with manteca – lard – and plenty of sugar.
Turrón is one of the most popular and well-known sweets that appears in Spain around Christmas. A type of nougat made with almonds, the selection of this dessert are endless. You’ll find stacks of all different kinds varying in price, flavour and consistency in shops and supermarkets.
Roscón de Reyes
Once the 6th of January hits, the celebrations finally come to a close. This is the day that the 3 Kings are said to have visited the baby Jesus and it is when children typically receive their presents. The custom is to eat the roscón de Reyes, which is round in shape and sprinkled with sugar or candied fruit. Usually, there is a little trinket inside – a figurine of baby Jesus or a euro coin for those who are not religious. Whoever receives this piece will have a lucky year.
Mazapán (marzipan) is another popular staple at the Spaniard’s Christmas sweets table made with ground almonds and sugar. The sweets are often molded into cute and interesting shapes.
The coca can be either savory or sweet and is long and flat. The one eaten around Christmastime in Spain is sweet and made with flour, eggs and ground almonds. It is also characterized by its flavour of anise and often contains pine nuts.
Pestiños come from the region of Andalusia. They are similar to donuts in that they are little pieces of dough that are deep-fried in olive oil. They can be powdered with sugar or dipped in honey.
Cava is Spain’s equivalent of the French Champagne. As special occasions call for bubbles, this is what flows freely during the festive celebrations.