We all have our old favourites and traditions but how do other countries celebrate the festive season? Does everyone tuck into turkey and sprouts followed by an overly large portion of Christmas pud before settling in for the night with a box of After Eights?

Take a look at some traditions from around Europe and try some alternative Christmas treats this year.

Portuguese sweet tooth

If you have a sweet tooth then Portugal is the place to be. Eaten at numerous celebrations but a staple Christmas tradition ‘Sonhos’ (Christmas dreams) are similar to a doughnut but slightly lighter and fluffier. Probably the most popular sweet treat is Bolo Rei (King’s Cake) a sweet bread with nuts and candied fruit, also eaten on 6th January - Kings’ Day.

Christmas pudding…...but not as you know it

If you are planning a Danish Christmas then you need to serve Risalamande, a cold rice pudding with whipped cream, chopped almonds and a hot cherry sauce. If you find the whole almond buried in your bowl you win a prize! Not sure how us Brits would react to a bowl of cold rice pudding instead of our usual alcohol drenched spiced fruity pud!

Surprises in Stockholm

The Swedes don’t do things by half, when they have a Christmas feast they have a full smorgasbord or Julbord (Christmas table). It’s a strange array of foods but expect pickled herring salad, meatballs, potato-anchovy casserole, lutfisk (speciality white fish dish) and Dopp I Grytan (bread dipped in pork broth) all finished off with Julmust - a root beer type drink usually only drunk at Christmas. Not great being a vegetarian at Christmas in Sweden.

Non Stop Italian Feast

The Italians are known for their love of eating so when it comes to Christmas they pull out all the stops. The festivities start on Christmas Eve with a Feast of the Seven Fishes and continue on Christmas day with antipasto, pasta then a main meat dish of either roasted veal, baked chicken, sausages or braised beef. By the time you get to Boxing Day it’s a wonder there is room for any more food but they carry on the celebrations by inviting people round to devour the leftovers. Also known for their desserts the traditional and delicious biscotti, panettone and torrone (nougat candy) will all make an appearance too.

Whatever you are sitting down to this Christmas we hope you have a great time over the festive period and look forward to seeing you all again in 2018. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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