Christmas celebrations in Spain are big… actually, they’re enormous! Christmas Eve is known as “La Noche Buena” (the good night) and it is a time to celebrate with family, friends, and even those in the local neighbourhood!
La Noche Buena tends to include a big family gathering starting in the evening with a delicious feast for everyone to enjoy. Just the way we love our celebrations here at Food Adventura… big, with lots of food! Some families choose to attend a midnight mass after their get-togethers while others are still in the midst of their festivities at midnight. As with many European countries, Christmas gifts are exchanged on Epiphany (Fiesta de Los tres Reyes Mages), which is January 6th instead of Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
There are many traditional dishes that accompany La Noche Buena so we thought we’d give you a gorgeous and very typical Spanish meal plan you could consider if you’re yet to start your Christmas planning with links to some recipes…. along with a favourite recipe of our own. It includes plenty of courses like simple tapas, an entrée, main course, and of course, a dessert. We’ve included a link to our Sangria recipe too because Sangria is always a good idea! There is something for everyone in the mix here so we hope you enjoy making it all.
The Food Adventura team has had a wonderful year attending all of your celebrations and we will love helping some of you with your Christmas parties too. As the year draws to a close we will be taking our annual break from Thursday 24 December 2015 to Thursday 7 January 2016. After that we will be back on deck and ready to help you with any functions you have planned for the New Year.
From our family here at Food Adventura to yours, we wish you a wonderful Christmas and a safe and happy New Year. Feliz Navidad! (Merry Christmas!)
A Typical Spanish Christmas Menu
It’s always great to keep this simple, and platters of tapas are something that can stay on the table for the remainder of the meal too. We like cold mixed platters with jamon, chorizo and a variety of cheeses such as manchengo and queso de cabra (goats milk cheese). Adding in some barbecued vegetables can also be a nice touch.
If you want some hot tapas, combining slices of chorizo, with chunks of apple on skewers and pan-frying them is delicious.
Sopa de ajo (Garlic soup) was originally a peasant dish but it’s something enjoyed by all these days and often appears on Christmas tables. It will certainly keep your cold at bay if you find you have one with the change of season!
The Spanish also love to have seafood as an entrée and given the heat here in Australia things like prawns, octopus or lobster tails lightly grilled on the barbecue would be perfect too.
Cordero asado (roast lamb) – No Christmas feast would be complete without this dish. It is usually cooked over an open fire but the oven will do just fine.
Turrón is a very traditional dessert that is found absolutely everywhere at Christmas time… hardly surprising given it is so sweet and delicious. There are two kinds of Turrón, one is soft and nougat-like (turrón blando) and the other is a lot harder (turrón duro) being made from a mix of mostly almonds, eggs, honey and sugar that results in a peanut brittle-like consistency. We have a chocolate version to share (see recipe below) but consider yourself warned…. It’s addictive!
Sangria…. Because sangria is perfect at anytime for any occasion.
Turrón de Chocolate Recipe
- 250g milk chocolate
- 250g dark chocolate
- 60g honey (optional – if you like a sweeter chocolate)
- 80g cocoa butter (at room temperature)
- 50g chopped, roasted almonds
- 50g rice crispies (or just add another 50g chopped, roasted almonds)
- Slowly melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave, be careful not to burn it. You may need to do this in two batches
- Remove chocolate from the heat and stir in the cocoa butter and honey if using. If you have done two batches of chocolate stir half the cacao butter and half the honey into each batch. Once fully incorporated add in the roasted almonds and rice crisps (if using) and stir well to combine
- Pour the mixture into a parchment paper lined dish or small silicone molds, then place in the freezer for one hour or until set
- If you have set the mixture whole in a dish, remove from the freezer and let it sit on the bench for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing
- Store in the fridge and enjoy!