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Five exotic Christmas dishes from across the world
Five exotic Christmas dishes from across the world

Christmas is all about relaxing and indulging, but for many of us, the holiday season is not about the presents, but instead it is the time to enjoy all kinds of delicious and extravagant, culinary creations.

Indeed, our fondness for all things festive-food-related is world-wide – here are some of the more interesting Christmas dishes you can find from across the world.

Lampreia de Ovos
A traditional dish from Portugal, Lampreia de Ovos is a sweet cake that features rich egg yolks, cherries, almonds and icing alongside a delicious amount of caramel. Often the centrepiece of a table, the cake is formed into the shape of a lamprey (an eel-like fish), making for a delightfully festive dessert. Click here for the recipe, courtesy of Nestle.

Coming from snowy Iceland, Laufabrauð, which translates as 'leaf bread', and is a traditional dish on the northern nation's dinner tables. Made communally by families in the days leading up to Christmas, this delicious and easy-to-cook accompaniment is made by rolling out dough into thin disks, which are then decorated with pretty patterns using a traditional leaf bread iron (or a thin, sharp knife, just in case you don't have one of those!) and deep-fried. Click here for Saveur's excellent recipe.

Doro wat
Translating as 'chicken stew', doro wat is Ethiopia's national dish, regularly eaten during the Christmas and Easter periods. Hot, spicy and requiring a rather intensive amount of preparation and a truly diverse range of ingredients, the stew is a perfect warming winter dish.

Doro Wat

You will need some berbere spice blend, Ethiopian honey wine (white wine and honey works just as well) and niter kibbeh (Ethiopian spiced butter, but again, normal butter works well), but the result is a truly delicious feast. Click here for a recipe, provided by Immaculate Bites.

The Feast of the Seven Fishes
A tradition popular among Italian-American families, the Feast of the Seven Fishes is a personal Christmas Eve feast that is dependent on the particular culinary traditions of families. While there is no standard menu, one thing that that is consistent is that it contains seven courses.

The first is something small and light (salt cod or salmon rillettes, for instance), followed by a healthy portion of seafood salad. Next comes a grilled, meaty course such as prawns or bass, before a big dish of pasta is served, with plenty of mussels and clams. Then there is a seafood stew course, followed by a light ice cream palate-cleansing course, before all kinds of cake are consumed. That's not forgetting wines and aperitifs to accompany each of the courses as well!

You will find Bon Appétit's guide to this epic meal here.

Chiles en nogada
A popular Christmas dish in Mexico that skilfully portrays the colours of the nation's flag (and also traditional festive shades!) chiles en nogada features poblano chilies that are filled with a meaty mixture, fire roasted to perfection and covered in a white walnut sauce. The finishing touch is a big handful of pomegranate seeds, making this a sweet and spicy Christmas treat. Find Squirrel Bread's recipe here.

We hope we have provided some inspiration to make something a little different for your festive meals over the holiday period.

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