Have you ever wondered what Christmas must be like in other countries? Or at the very least, wondered what people usually eat for Christmas dinner across the other side of the world? Well...you probably haven't, but now that I've mentioned it, you must be a little curious. And your curiosity is about to be satisfied. Sit back and get a load of this...
In Argentina the traditional Christmas spread is made up of Vitel Tone - veal smothered in a creamy mayonnaise sauce flavoured with tinned tuna - or in other words this:
Vitel Tone is made by poaching a cut of veal with onions, carrots, celery and parsley (among a few other ingredients) and coating the meat with a tuna mayonnaise sauce made with anchovies and vinegar. Not something seafood haters should ever try. The meat and the sauce are then layered together and set in the fridge to stew for up to five days to allow the flavours to develop.
A few other key Argentinian Christmas treats are Turron or Nougat, Pan Dulce (panattone), Asado (meaning barbeque) meats such as beef, chicken, calf, lamb or suckling pig, Budin (fruitcake), Matambre (a cut of beef), Lengua (beef tongue), sandwiches de miga, salads and pionono (dough cooked with walnuts or fruits and chantilly cream).
The Swedes go all out in their Christmas extravaganza - especially in the sausage department. That's actually not as dodgy as it sounds...what I mean is that they have three kinds of sausage on the dinner table: Prinskorv - small hot dog sausages, Flaskkorv - large pork sausages, and Isterband - smoked fresh pork sausage. If that isn't enough meat for you, they also bring out the Kottbullar (Swedish meatballs), Revbensspjall (spare ribs) and Julskinka (Christmas ham). To balance out all this meat, the Swedes lay out the Christmas fish with dishes like Lutfisk - boiled white fish served in a white gravy, Inlagdsill - pickled herring, Janssons frestelse - scalloped potato casserole with anchovies, and Gravad Lax - raw spiced salmon, proving very popular. Again, not a great place to spend Christmas if you don't like fish...or if you're vegetarian for that matter.
The last country I thought I should add to my Christmas dinner list is Jamaica. I did this mainly because their main dish is curried goat: something which I think puts the traditional turkey to shame...although they do also consume slightly less flamboyant meats like chicken and ham which I think (like the goat) they eat with rice and peas. Their Christmas desert, which is similar to our Christmas cake, is served with a special drink. This drink is called sorrel and countains rum and is usually heavily flavoured with ginger and other spices.
In my opinion, Christmas dinner sounds best in Jamaica. Admittedly, this is mainly because I can't stand the taste of fish unless it is in finger form, but also because I really do like the sound of curried goat!