Christmas Dishes from Around the World

Overview: It’s always a good time to add some variety to your Christmas dinner. In this blog post, we’re exploring some delicious international meals that you can make at home to enhance your holiday! Read on!

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and what better way to spread holiday cheer than by exploring the delightful and diverse world of traditional Christmas dishes? While we all have our cherished holiday favorites, let’s embark on a culinary journey around the globe to discover the mouth-watering treats that grace tables from different corners of the earth.

Italy: Feast of the Seven Fishes

The Feast of the Seven Fishes, known as “La Vigilia” in Italy, is a cherished Italian-American Christmas Eve tradition. Rooted in the southern Italian custom of abstaining from meat on this holy night, families come together to indulge in a sumptuous seafood feast. The number seven is symbolic, representing the seven sacraments or the seven days of creation.

Delicacy: Classic Seafood Cioppino 


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups fish or seafood broth
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (adjust to taste)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound mussels, cleaned and debearded
  • 1 pound clams, scrubbed
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 pound firm white fish (such as cod or halibut), cut into chunks
  • 1/2 pound calamari, cleaned and sliced into rings
  • Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
  • Crusty bread, for serving


In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, minced garlic, diced bell pepper, and sliced fennel. Sauté until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.

Pour in the white wine and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes, allowing the alcohol to evaporate. Add the crushed tomatoes, fish or seafood broth, dried oregano, dried basil, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper. Stir well and bring the mixture to a simmer.

Once the broth is simmering, add the mussels and clams. Cover the pot and cook for 5-7 minutes or until the shells open. Add the shrimp, fish chunks, and calamari to the pot. Simmer for an additional 5-7 minutes or until the seafood is cooked through.

Taste the broth and adjust the seasoning if needed. Discard any unopened mussel or clam shells. Ladle the cioppino into bowls, garnish with chopped fresh parsley, and serve with crusty bread for dipping into the flavorful broth.

Enjoy this Feast of the Seven Fishes classic, a delightful and hearty seafood cioppino that embodies the spirit of Italian-American holiday traditions. Buon Appetito!

 Doro Wat (Ethiopian Spicy Chicken Stew)


  • 2 pounds chicken, cut into pieces
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup berbere spice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger, grated
  • 1/2 cup niter kibbeh (spiced clarified butter)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Salt to taste
  • Hard-boiled eggs for garnish


In a pot, sauté onions in niter kibbeh until golden brown. Add minced garlic, grated ginger, and berbere spice. Cook for a few minutes. Add chicken pieces and brown on all sides. Pour in chicken broth and simmer until the chicken is cooked through.

Garnish with hard-boiled eggs and serve with injera. Spice up your Christmas with the flavors of Ethiopia!

Here are the Top 10 Traditional Ethiopian Christmas Foods you might like!

South Africa: Malva Pudding   

Craving something sweet and uniquely South African this Christmas? Try Malva Pudding to enhance your Christmas table this year! Originating from the Dutch settlers, Malva Pudding has twirled its way into the hearts of South Africans with its apricot jam-infused charm. Let’s dive into the recipe!

Delicacy: Malva Pudding 


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tbsp apricot jam
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 cup milk

For the sauce:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter


Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a baking dish. In a bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add apricot jam, vinegar, eggs, melted butter, and milk. Mix until smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

While the pudding is baking, make the sauce by combining cream, sugar, and butter in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour the hot sauce over the baked pudding as soon as it comes out of the oven. Let it soak in.

Serve warm and enjoy the sweet indulgence of a South African Christmas delicacy!

Sweden: Jansson’s Temptation 

Ready for a Swedish Christmas culinary adventure? Jansson’s Temptation is your ticket – a creamy, savory casserole that brings together potatoes, onions, and anchovies, all baked to golden, heartwarming perfection.


  • 2 lbs (900g) potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 can (about 125g) anchovy fillets, drained and chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 tbsp bread crumbs
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). In a skillet, sauté the onions with a bit of butter until they become translucent. Set aside.

Grease a baking dish with butter. Layer half of the sliced potatoes in the bottom. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the sautéed onions and chopped anchovies over the potatoes.

Add the remaining potatoes as another layer, seasoning again with salt and pepper.

In a bowl, mix together the cream and milk. Pour this mixture over the potatoes in the dish. Dot the top with butter and sprinkle with bread crumbs for a crispy topping.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 1 hour, or until the potatoes are tender and the top is golden brown. Let it cool for a few minutes before serving. This creamy, savory dish is a perfect comfort food for the festive season!

Germany: Weihnachtsstollen 

Ever wondered what Christmas tastes like in Germany? Enter the world of Weihnachtsstollen, a festive, fruit-laden bread that’s as traditional as it gets, with its delightful ensemble of candied fruit, nuts, and spices.


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup candied citrus peel
  • 1/2 cup blanched almonds, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Powdered sugar for dusting


In a large bowl, combine 1 cup of flour, yeast, warm milk, and a teaspoon of sugar. Let it sit for 15 minutes until frothy.

Add the remaining sugar, salt, butter, cardamom, vanilla extract, and lemon zest to the yeast mixture. Gradually mix in the remaining flour to form a soft dough. Knead in the raisins, candied citrus peel, and almonds.

Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours. Punch down the dough, then shape it into an oval loaf. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Bake the stollen for 45-50 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and while still warm, brush with melted butter and generously dust with powdered sugar.

Let it cool completely before slicing. Serve with a warm beverage and enjoy the festive flavors!

If you have a sweet tooth like us, don’t forget to look into 20 Traditional German Christmas Cookies for some yummy ideas!

In Summary 

From Germany’s Stollen to the South African Pudding, each dish brings its unique flavor and tradition to the Christmas table. This year, why not add a global twist to your holiday feast by trying out one of these beloved international dishes?

Merry Christmas and happy cooking!

And remember, Redlands Ranch Market is your #1 source for all those holiday grocery shopping needs in the Inland Empire!