Having A European Christmas

Have you ever wondered how our European cousins celebrate Christmas?
Some of our staff here at The Marygreen Manor Hotel thought it might be nice to give you a glimpse of what Christmas is like in their home countries and have included examples of some of their traditional Christmas dishes. So if you’re tired of turkey or strung out on sprouts here’s something new to try!

Tanja Beez, Front Office Manager – Germany
Advent starts on the fourth Sunday before December 25th. Every Sunday the families will light a candle from their advent wreath which eventually leads you up to Christmas. For the children we have Adventskalender which is to shorten the wait for Father Christmas to arrive. For all Protestants the Christmas celebration begins on the 24th December 2011 with a light supper. In my family we always celebrated with my parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles who live locally. Some of my relatives go to church to sing Christmas songs and listen to the Christmas story and the others stay at home doing the same. Gifts will be exchanged in the evening after the light supper.
The 25th & 26th December 2011 are days which you would traditionally spend with your family and further relatives which come from further away. The traditional food in our family is roasted Goose, potato dumplings, red cabbage or kale. The traditional dessert would be a baked apple stuffed with marzipan, raisins and almond slivers served with a hot vanilla sauce and sometimes ice cream. During the Christmas period you will find gingerbread (soft) with chocolate or sugar-coating and Oblate on the bottom, gingery biscuits (hard) with almonds and other delicious Christmas biscuits, sweets.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebkuchen The traditional drink would be Gluehwein which is similar to the English Mulled Wine or Feuerzangenbowle. http://www.food.com/recipe/gluehwein-german-hot-wine-punch-48713
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feuerzangenbowle

Nicolas Brill-Darder, Lounge Porter – Spain
We celebrate on the 24th December in the evening. We would have a big family dinner with our extended family. We would normally start with a soup, followed by roast suckling pig, jacket potatoes and vegetables and then finish with Turrón. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turr%C3%B3n
We would spend the 25th December with our immediate family. If we are lucky we might get an additional present from our parents on this day as well!

Laura Balint, Receptionist – Romanian
In Romania we begin our celebration on the 24th when many people go from door to door carol singing. Houses where you sing will normally give you Cozonac http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cozonac , Palinca http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P%C3%A1linka or wine!  On the 25th we exchange gifts in the morning before going to church with our families. After church we have a big meal with our close family with Soup as a starter, Sarmale as main course http://www.mamaliga.com/holidays/christmas/sarmale-recipe
For dessert we would normally have a selection creamy cakes and pastries

Gyorgy Bucsku, Lounge Porter – Hungarian
In Hungary our celebrations begin on 24th December when we put up our tree in the morning followed by a trip to church at noon. After church we would normally exchange gifts before having a big buffet style dinner with our extended families in the evening with Salads, Sandwiches, pickled cucumber, Roast Meats, Breaded Meats, Breaded Fish (carp) and toltot. http://www.chew.hu/toltott_kaposzta_1.html For dessert we would normally have beigli. http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Beigli-(Hungarian-Poppy-Seed-%26-Walnut-Rolls)

We continue to celebrate on 25th and 26th December with a visit to church each day and then a lunch with our close family – maybe Fish Soup, Meat Soup or Stuffed Cabbage. Later in the day other family and friends may visit and we would have a selection of cold items to eat – buffet style!

Cyril Capet, Assistant Manager – France
We celebrate the start of Christmas on 24th December with a 4 or 5 course meal with close family. In France Christmas food is quite regionally inspired and in my region, the Dordogne, we would typically have oysters to start, following on with foie gras, and then a main course of duck breast, roast beef or capon. Dessert is more of a national tradition and would normally consist of la buche de Noel.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B%C3%BBche_de_No%C3%ABl
After dinner we would attend midnight mass. On returning from church we would exchange gifts. However if there are young children in the family we would do the gifts on the morning of 25th December. On the 25th December we would celebrate with our extended family – spending almost the whole day at the dining table. We would eat typically regional dishes again and of course there would be plenty of wine!

Lukasz Wos – Lounge Porter – Poland

During the day time on Christmas Eve we try to only eat a little or fast altogether.  When the first star can be seen in the sky we sit down with our close family for a big meal.  We would begin by sharing oplatek and wishing each other success and health for the coming year. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_wafer Depending on the affluence of the family the meal may consist of from 5 – 13 different courses and will include dishes such as Barszcz Czerwony z Uszkami, http://easteuropeanfood.about.com/od/polishsoups/r/beetsoup.htm Karp W Sosie Polskim and for desserts mak Z Miodem.  Traditionally we would drink Kompot.  http://www.tastingpoland.com/food/polish_food_drinks.html  On the 25thwe would exchange gifts with our family and enjoy a big breakfast. In the afternoon we visit our extended families and friends.  The food on the 25th is usually served like a buffet with lost of different meats and other cold items.  We drink a lot of vodka on this day!

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