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Christmas in the world: Eastern Europe

Christmas in Eastern Europe: a table of tasty traditions

Christmas in Eastern Europe is a holiday filled with myriad traditions and delicious dishes that reflect the rich history and culture of this fascinating region.

Each country has its specialties, but they all share the desire to bring families and friends together around tables laden with delicacies.

Let's explore some of Eastern Europe's most iconic Christmas dishes.

1. Ukraine: Christmas between sacredness and generous banquets

The main dish of the Ukrainian Christmas table is "Kutia", a mixture of cooked wheat, honey, nuts and dried fruit.

This dish is a symbol of prosperity and good omen for the future. Other traditional dishes include "Varenyky", a Ukrainian version of pierogi, usually filled with potatoes, cabbage or fruit.

Fish, such as carp, is often present on the Christmas table, and "Borscht", a red beetroot soup, is an essential but convivial dish.

A fascinating custom is to place a straw under the tablecloth. This gesture is a tribute to the manger of Bethlehem and symbolizes modesty and humility.

The Ukrainian Christmas table is also full of sweets, with "Medovnik", a gingerbread, and "Kolach", a braided bread decorated with Christmas symbols. The traditional drink is "Kompot", a fruity drink.

2. Hungary: Beigli and Halászlé

In Hungary, Beigli, a roll-shaped dessert filled with walnuts or poppies, is a common presence on Christmas tables. Halászlé, a spicy fish soup, is another delight that adds a unique touch to Hungarian celebrations.

3. Poland: Pierogi and Barszcz

In Poland, Christmas dinner is incomplete without pierogi, ravioli filled with vegetables or other ingredients such as potatoes, sauerkraut or cheese.

Accompanied by a traditional soup called barszcz, made from red beets, these dishes embody Polish warmth and tradition.

4. Czech Republic: Kuba and Vánoční rybí polévka

The Czech Republic delights the palate with Kuba, a mixture of barley, mushrooms and pork, and Vánoční rybí polévka, a rich and tasty Christmas fish soup.

5. Bulgaria: Banitsa and Kapama

In Bulgaria, the celebrations start on Christmas Eve, where it is traditional to eat lean foods (only vegetable-based dishes) and it is customary not to clear the table before going to bed.

In Bulgaria, Banitsa, a layered phyllo dough cake filled with eggs, cheese and yogurt, is a tradition during the Christmas holidays but in particular for New Year's Eve. Where it is customary to insert a note in each slice - written by the guests - with good intentions or good wishes that they want to dedicate to the other guests; everyone will choose their slice and read the wish written on the card that they will have to keep for the whole year.

In the area of ​​Bulgaria called "the valley of roses", Kapama is prepared, a rich dish based on various types of meat, cabbage and rice, it is often prepared for the Christmas dinner and could be compared to our cassoeula.

Obviously, you can find the recipe for traditional cassoeula here . (recipe from the blog).

6. Russia: Olivier and Kutia

In Russia, the Christmas table is embellished with salads such as Olivier, a mixture of potatoes, peas, sausage and mayonnaise. Kutia, a dessert made from buckwheat, honey, walnuts and poppy seeds, completes the feast with its sweet and nutritious flavour.

7. Romania: Sarmale and Cozonac

In Romania, Christmas is celebrated with Sarmale, cabbage leaves stuffed with pork and rice.

Cozonac, a dessert woven with nuts, chocolate and candied fruit, is a must in Romanian homes during the holidays.

8. Slovakia: Lokše and Bryndzové halušky

Slovakian tables are embellished with Lokše, thin potato pancakes, and Bryndzové halušky, potato dumplings with sheep's cheese and bacon.

Christmas in the world: Eastern Europe

These are just some of the extraordinary dishes that make the culinary tradition of Christmas in Eastern Europe unique. The tables laden with delicacies become the stage for family stories and conviviality, celebrating the joy of union and the taste of cultural roots.

In every dish, there is a piece of history and heart, making Christmas in Eastern Europe an unforgettable culinary experience.