These are the typical Christmas dishes by autonomous community in Spain

by Lorraine Williamson
Christmas dishes

Spain is a country with several traditions. One of them is directly related to gastronomy, and it is essential. Especially at Christmas time! And there are dishes suitable for everyone; cheese, meat, vegetables, fish and of course the most delicious desserts.

Each Spanish region has its own Christmas customs and traditions that must be observed. Although it is clear that some products and dishes are common, such as seafood, cheese, ham and turrón, a kind of Spanish nougat.

Besides the similarities, there are clear differences depending on the region where they can be found. A gastronomic journalist from Cadena Ser, Carlos G. Cano, has mapped the typical dishes. The dishes are for reference only; the options are endless.

Andalucia

It could not be otherwise, in a region on the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, seafood such as shrimps and langoustines are on the table. But also ham and cheese. Scorpion pie is becoming increasingly popular and puchero (stew style soup) is also common. However, there is no consensus on the main course, as stuffed capon, lamb, or pig’s feet are also recurrent. For dessert, there is of course turrón (nougat), mantecados de Estepa and pestiños (a sugary doughnut with honey).

Christmas dishes

Aragón

Aragonese veal is essential, although other meats are also possible. There is also cardoon made with almonds or cod, and delicacies from Teruel (montaditos with crushed tomato and ham). And for dessert guirlache, a mixture of almonds, aniseed and caramel.

Asturias

Although some people opt for Asturian stew, the most typical dish is fish or seafood soup and, as a second course, roasted goat or lamb with potatoes and peppers. There are also advocates of the bean dish fabada or cachopo (stuffed veal). For dessert, there is always casadielles (a fried pastry filled with walnuts and anise) and sometimes frixuelos or rice pudding. Toasts are served with cider.

Christmas dishes

Balearic Islands

Typical Christmas dishes include stuffed galettes with their broth, Deià Christmas soup, sopa de la reina, porc negre suckling pig, stuffed capon or turkey, stuffed squid (Menorca), sofrit pagés (Ibiza), escaldums. For dessert, homemade turrón and, to finish it off, herbal liqueur.

Basque country

Besides seafood (especially spider crab, txangurro), the most typical dishes are porrusalda, cauliflower, cardoon, snails, txitxarro, sea bream or cod and, if you can afford it, farmed eel. Also meat; lamb or goat, and for dessert, turrón de soconusco (Bizkaia), intxaur saltsa, chestnuts, baked apples. Mulled wine is typical of Álava.

Canary Islands

Canarian cheeses, potatoes with mojo sauce, ham and some octopus, prawns or seafood salpicón, but meat reigns supreme: roast pork leg, rabbit or goat. For dessert, if the weather is warm, ice cream, but also, for example, polvorones de Tejeda. And as an after-dinner drink, honey rum.

Cantabria

Snails in sauce or ‘a la montañesa’ (with ham, chorizo and walnuts) are often on the menu. As are roast suckling lamb, stewed chicken picasuelos or cocido montañés, a classic dish. And as a seafood option, there are delicious mussels from Pedreña, sea bream, sea bass or turbot. And don’t miss anchovies either. For dessert, it is typical to eat torrijas (French toast( and to finish, drink orujo de Liébana (liqueur from Liébana).

Castile-La Mancha

Aubergines from Almagro are a common starter, as are cheese or ham, and then there is usually soup. The main course varies by area: suckling pig, roast lamb or capon, pickled partridge, cochifrito (fried meat), gazpachos, atascaburras (fish, potatoes, egg). For dessert there is marzipan, Miguelitos de La Roda or some other sweet. And sometimes, to finish, the liqueur resolí de Cuenca.

Castile and León

Cheese, cecina (dried beef) and Guijuelo ham are followed by consommé or fish soup. And although suckling lamb is the main dish, suckling pig and turkey are also popular. Meat and sausage are the stars of Christmas menus. Everything is washed down with wines from Toro, Rueda and Ribera. And don’t forget the polvorones (crumbly shortbread biscuits) from Tordesillas.

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Catalonia

At Christmas time, eat escudella and carn d’olla (vegetables, chickpeas, pelota, butifarras); and cannelloni the next day. All with cava and, for dessert, nougat and neulas (waffles). As this is a region that has traditionally welcomed many migrants from Andalucia, Extremadura and Castile-La Mancha, its gastronomy has naturally been influenced by this.

Christmas dishes

Ceuta

As main dishes voraz or fried sea bream with mashed potatoes and hot or cold txangurro (spider crab). Also chicken or capon with Arabic-influenced stuffing and, for dessert, turrones and mantecados.

Extremadura

Besides ham Dehesa de Extremadura and torta cheese, some people eat criadillas de tierra or carne de matanza (slaughtered meat). The most typical dishes are fried lamb or goat, zongollo, Hurdana salad, cod or game and, for dessert, mantecados, almendrillas, garrapiñadas (sugared almonds) and turrón de Castuera.To finish, especially in Las Hurdes, Pichín Real (rum with honey).

Galicia

Cod with (cauliflower) cabbage, fried sea bream, seafood (prawns, spider crab, scallops, barnacles) and fried lamb, free-range chicken or turkey from Villalba.For dessert, there are nougat and polvorones, torrijas with red wine or filloas (stuffed pancakes). All with wine and, to finish, homemade liqueurs: orujo, herb liqueur or coffee liqueur.

Community of Madrid

Although the people of Madrid have already adopted the culinary traditions of many other parts of Spain, the most typical dishes are artichoke with almonds, tripe, red cabbage, almond soup (similar to ajoblanco), fried sea bream and suckling lamb. For dessert, tocinillo de cielo (Spanish dessert consisting mainly of egg yolks, sugar and water), turrones and polvorones.

Melilla

Typical Christmas dishes include briouats, puff pastry of Arabic orsp origin filled with seafood, chicken or meat. There is also mince soup, squid rounds stuffed with meat, suckling pig. Muslims more often opt for couscous (savoury and sweet).For dessert, there is fruit, nougat and mantecados. Then anise liqueur and mixed drinks.

Christmas dishes

Murcia

At Christmas it is very typical to eat turkey dishes, in different ways: broth with turkey balls, rice and turkey (Lorca) or masamorcilla with turkey. Also rabbit with ajo cabañil and for dessert, sometimes with mistela, many sweets: toñas, cake, suspiros, monas con huevo, mantecados, cordiales, tortas escaldás, mazapán de Moratalla.

Navarre

Seafood is never lacking, but the most typical dishes are cardoons with almonds or ham and sometimes artichokes or borage (cucumber herb).As a main course, cod, roast suckling pig (Estella) or lamb baked in the oven or with chilindrón (Tudela).For dessert, turrón, goshua, dried apricots and sultanas.

La Rioja

The most typical dish is cardoon with bechamel sauce and almonds, but lamb or roast goat lamb, Rioja-style cod and fried sea bream are also commonly prepared. For dessert, there are nougat and polvorones, compote, fruit salad, homemade sugared almonds and marzipan from Soto. Local wines and Valvanera liqueur or pacharán.

Valencian Community

On Christmas Eve, if possible, red shrimps from Denia or prawns from Vinarós.Also stuffed turkey or fried lamb. And on Christmas Day, cocido (putxero), meat or a rice recipe. For dessert, sweet potato pastries, turrón de yema, pineapple, peladillas de Casinos and pilotas, a homemade sweet made with almonds and cinnamon. All with Requena cava and mistela.

Also read: Supermarket cava under €5 in Spain

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