Although Christmas itself might vary in how it is celebrated across different nations and continents, one thing remains a certified fact; come the 25th of December, everyone sits around the table with one objective in mind: to stuff themselves to an extent that even puts the turkey to shame! If there is a turkey present, that is. Christmas lunch differs from culture to culture, according to many different variables such as weather, cuisine and religious beliefs. The team behind Charles Grech Bistro – one of the top restaurants in Sliema – lists a few of the most interesting below.
Trust the French to turn Christmas into the most sophisticated, opulent affair possible. A typical Christmas spread in France would be made of foie gras, oysters, smoked salmon, chestnut-stuffed turkey and even goose! In Provence, it’s not uncommon to have 13 desserts along with this enormous lunch – a number chosen to represent Christ and his 12 apostles.
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the Swedes indulge in a veritable smorgasbord of delights every December. A Swedish Christmas feast is a decadent array of what is known as a Julbord – a banquet consisting of pickled herring, cheeses, Swedish meatballs, spare ribs, Lutefisk (a traditional meal of white fish treated in lye) and much, much more. Dessert often features rice pudding with almonds and mulled wine.
Christmas is a different affair for our cousins on the other side of the equator – they’re more likely to be having a barbecue under the sun instead of a cosy dinner indoors! The South Africans enjoy grilling their Christmas food outside, with choices of suckling pig, duck, turkey or beef. Mince pies and malva pudding (a sweet, spongy cake) are then served as treats.
One of the most popular Christmas traditions in Costa Rica is making tamales – dough wrapped in corn husks or banana leaves, which are then cooked in a steamer. Every family is said to have their own recipe, which could include fillings made with raisins, pork, beef, chicken, garlic and potatoes.
This tradition is one of the most interesting and has a lot of history behind it. Throughout the 20th century, the Jewish and Chinese communities were among the largest diaspora groups in the USA; since neither community officially celebrates Christmas, they are often found spending the 24th and 25th December together. Many American Jews go to Chinatown to have a sort of “Christmas” lunch together, complete with fortune cookies and the Westernised General Tso’s chicken.
Come over to one of the most popular restaurants in Sliema to celebrate this festive season!
For impeccable service and delicious food, you cannot beat Charles Grech Bistro. We pride ourselves on offering some of the best dishes on the island, with a pleasant ambiance and stylish decor to match. Of all restaurants in Sliema, make Charles Grech Bistro your number one choice this December.
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