Christmas is over, but my belly is still here…


Christmas is over, but a lot of people -including me- still have in their belly the vivid memories of the food we had during the holiday season. Since is an international company with people from all around the world, a lot of people went on holiday to their home country to spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve with family and friends and, of course, eat their typical Christmas specialties. In these days we keep talking in our kitchen about what we had during the past holidays, so I decided to make a list from a few favorite holiday season specialties from countries from which employees are originally from.

You can easily recognize which of the Italian employees spent their  holiday back home… We walk like zombies, holding onto our bellies as if our lives depend on it. Even though New Year’s Eve was over a week ago, we can still feel all the food we had.
The Christmas and New Year’s Eve dinners in Italy are basically the same, but there are some small variations. In the south, where I am from, every course contains fish: we start with smoked salmon, then spaghetti with seafood, followed by some fish cooked in the oven. I know this sounds almost like a dinner when you are on a diet, but the fish is just the base of the dinner… Between the main fish courses you usually have any kind of deep fried vegetables, mozzarella, nuts and much, much more.
For New Year’s Eve the most important things to eat are lentils and “cotechino”, a special kind of sausage that we eat only during New Year’s Eve. Lentils symbolize luck with money and “cotechino” fortunes for good health.

Cotechino with Lentils

Cotechino with Lentils

As most of the Mediterranean and catholic countries, Spain has a huge tradition related to Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Maria from our SEA team gave me all the info regarding Christmas and New Year’s Eve food in Spain.

Let’s start with Christmas Eve: usually in Spain they have turkey, some families have lamb and some others fish. Christmas Eve is the night Christmas presents are exchanged, however the big presents come on the night between the 5th and the 6th of January when the three Wise Kings arrive. On Christmas Eve in Spain, grandparents and other relatives traditionally give (grand)children something called “aguinaldo”, which basically is a little bit of pocket money to spend on something they like. In some families the children get the money just after singing a Christmas carol.

Twelve Grapes

Twelve Grapes ready for New Year’s Eve

For New Year’s Eve the Twelve Grapes tradition is really important. The tradition consists of eating a grape with each bell ringing for midnight on December 31, which supposedly leads to a year of prosperity. Adding something made of gold (a ring for example) on your glass of champagne, and wearing red underwear also brings good luck (according to Maria and all our other Spanish colleagues).

Jean, our French guy in the Marketing department, also looks a bit tired after these holidays… What exhausted him during Christmas and New Year’s Eve? Well, he started, like most French people do on Christmas and New Year’s Eve, with Foie Gras (a typical French delicacy made from the livers of geese or ducks). It is eaten on toast and with oysters. Then comes turkey with chestnuts and, for dessert, a Yule Log.

Yule Log Cake

Yule Log

Yuli -one of our blog authors- is from Israel and they do not celebrate Christmas in her home country. New Year is a relatively small event (they have their own New Year’s Eve, based on a different calendar) but they have another celebration that more or less is in the same period of Christmas: Hannuka.
During Hannuka, they eat Sufganiyot. Sufganiyot is a round, deep-fried doughnut, filled with jelly or custard and topped with powdered sugar. It’s can be compared to the “Berliner” from Germany, “Oliebollen” from the Netherlands or “Bomba” from Italy.



For our Dutch colleagues nothing really changes during Christmas and New Year’s Eve, the only thing they add to their rich diet of sandwiches (yes, I’m a bit ironic here :-) ) are  oliebollen. Oliebollen are deep fried, sweet doughnut-like treats made from flour, eggs, yeast, milk, baking powder and usually raisins and sometimes apple pieces.



Rochelle, one of our Affiliate Managers, is from Australia, where they usually have a huge Turkey and Ham for Christmas. They don’t really have a New Year’s tradition when it comes to food, but they usually eat the left-overs from Christmas, served with a lot of salad and, in the end, ice cream or pavlova… Yes, it’s summer down there in the holiday season :-)

Christmas Turkey

Christmas turkey

Our “second” Maria, from Norway, told me that they have the same dinner for Christmas and New Year’s Eve and what they have depends on the part of the country you are from. If you live near the coast, you usually eat fried pork or lamb chops; if you live the middle of the country you have fish. In addition, everyone eats sausages, potatoes, carrots, Kohlrabi (German Turnip), red and green cabbage, topped off with sauce… I’m just wondering how is possible that the Norwegians are always in a good shape even with this food…

Pork with potatoes and carrots

Pork with potatoes and carrots

One of our girls from the Research & Development department, Georgiana, is originally from Romania and she’s still thinking about the Sarmale! In Romania they do not have a huge dinner or lunch to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve like in Italy but they do have typical food: Sarmale. The Sarmale (or Sarma) is a typical dish from the former Ottoman Empire and is the mostpopular meal during Christmas – not only in Romania but also in Slovenia, Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Macedonia. Sarma is a dish with grapes, cabbage and chard leaves rolled around a filling of minced meat.



Now you understand why, even 1 week already past since New Year’s Eve, some of us still are dealing with the consequences of huge Christmas and New Year’s Eve lunches and dinners…

What about you? Which typical dishes did you have during Christmas time and… how long will it take for you to digest it?

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About Gigi

Hi everyone! My name is Luigi but all my friends call me Gigi. I'm from Italy, more precisely from Naples, one of the most beautiful cities in the world! I moved to Amsterdam more than 2 years ago after I’ve travelled most tourist destinations for fun.

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