Foreign Festive Fare for Christmas Events

JWe have previously suggested borrowing Christmas traditions from other cultures to add color and excitement to festive events. 

The menu is one of the most important elements to consider when planning an event based on a foreign theme. Serve turkey yes but add some variety when creating Christmas event menus.

Today, we present menu selections from around the world to inspire event planners and the caterers who work with them.

Main Courses

  • Beef WellingtonJoulupoyta (Finland)
    Smorgasbords were invented in Scandinavia countries. The special dishes that are prepared and served as a smorgasbord at Christmas are known as Joulupoyta.
  • Goose (Europe & United Kingdom)
  • Chicken or Beef Fondue (Switzerland)
  • Curry Goat or Chicken (Caribbean)
  • Raclette and Potatoes (Switzerland)
  • Paella (Spain)
  • Tourtiere (Quebec, Canada)
  • Beef Wellington (England)

If members of your group have egg allergies or food restrictions use beef Bresaola or kosher or Halal turkey ham instead of Parma Ham and omit the egg wash on the pastry or use butter.

Cheese FondueBreads

  • Paneton (South America)
    Known as Panettone in Milan where this dish originated, sweet bread filled with raisins and other fruit is a Christmas favorite throughout Latin America.
  • Stollen (German)
    Similar to Panettone, Stollen is filled with nuts, dried fruit and marzipan. Icing sugar is usually sprinkled on top as a coating
  • Natilla & Bunuelos (Colombia)
    Bunuelos are made from a sweet dough that is similar to doughnuts. They are also popular in the Middle East, Spain, and Greece. Natilla is a custard that is similar to flan.  It's made with brown sugar blocks (panela), milk, cinnamon and cornstarch. A similar dish natillas made with eggs and milk is popular in other South American countries at Christmas.
  • Cheese Fondue with bread (Switzerland)
    Like raclette, cheese fondue is popular during the winter months and a Christmas Eve favorite. It's a great way to serve bread and create an interactive and informal corporate dinner party.

Desserts

  • Pastel de Tres Leches (Dominican Republic)
    This delicious cake is soaked in 3 types of milk: condensed milk, cream, and evaporated milk.

  • Buche de Noel Christmas Trifle (England)
  • Heidesand (Germany)
    These buttery shortbread cookies are a German Christmas favorite.
  • Dulce de Leche (Latin America)
    Dulce de Leche is a caramel sauce made from condensed milk. It can be eaten as a pudding or uses as filling in biscuits
  • Dark Fruit Cake (Caribbean) a.k.a. Black Cake or Rum Cake 
  • Viennese Whirl Biscuits (Austria and England)
    These biscuits are similar to short break cookies. They are either put together like a sandwich, filled with raspberry jam and coated with icing sugar or dipped in chocolate.
  • Buche de Noel (France or Quebec)
    This delicious Christmas desert is a sponge cake that is filled with chocolate and rolled. It is decorated to look like a log.

Beverages

  • Hot Mulled Wine (Germany)
  • Coquito (Puerto Rico)
    This beverage is similar to egg nog and made with coconut cream, coconut milk, condensed milk, eggs, nutmeg and rum.
  • Sorrel (Jamaica & Trinidad)
    The deep red petals form sorrel are combined with ginger and water to create a Christmas favorite in the Caribbean.

For more ideas to create events with a foreign flair, also read  10 Tips for Creating Caribbean Corporate Events and  Cinco De Mayo-Themed Celebration Ideas.

Photo Credits: Hotel Arthur Helsinki, cogito ergo imago,  jit bagdonutgirl

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