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Spanish Christmas at
December 15, 2004

This is the special Christmas edition of our newsletter. We've prepared a whole new section on our website dedicated to Christmas in Spain... Check it out by clicking here!

And don't forget to check out our new cookbook: Favourite Mediterranean Recipes!


Spanish Christmas culinary traditions

The turkey, the true culinary symbol of Christmas, is giving way to the capon, the pularda, the guinea-fowl and other foreign products that are conquering Spanish tables. Tropical fruits are also becoming more and more popular as a companion to the traditional dry fruit and nut selection. American fruits sliced up in a spiced fruit salad are finding a place on the Spanish Christmas table alongside the turron. Adding a fresh and light touch to the heavier sweets, they are the perfect expression of fusion cooking.

The traditional red cabbage, with or without apple; the select thistles or the splendid shellfish are transformed into the lightest of salads where the fish doesn't affect the taste of new vegetables such as ficoide glaciar and the more well-known rocket, hoja de roble o batavia. The salads offer contrasting flavours, combining citrus fruits such as green apple or grapefruit with the soft texture of avocado and the spicy taste of blue cheese such as cabrales or roquefort. On this special occasion, the salad dressing is of extra virgin olive oil with vintage vinegar from Jerez or Modena. Adding pepper, a drop of honey, mustard or a mixture of five berries is a question of taste.

The trend is towards a lighter cuisine that replaces the traditional stuffed turkey (still very popular in many households) with the leanest parts of other birds covered in sauces made from meat juices and the accompanying vegetables, reduced and flavoured at the last minute with oloroso wine and truffle juices

Cream can be used to tone down the sauce, but in smaller quantities, so as to add creaminess without the fat. Even the famous Pedro Subijana sea bass, very popular in the seventies, has seen its cream content successfully reduced by a third in the 21st century. We are coming to realise that the best and healthiest option is to accompany meat and fish with its own juices, without adding an excess of fat.

Fish lovers know that marine species become symbols of luxury at this time of year, along with exquisite duck patÚ, caviar and oysters. Luckily, wild sea bass isn't usually served with heavy sauces such as tartar or vinegar, rather its clean flesh is steamed along with vegetables and algae and accompanied with an aromatic herb sauce of spring onions, basil or pesto.

This is the perfect formula to enjoy the taste of the fish, even if you use lower-priced species.

Oil spills, excess cholesterol and high prices keep fish at bay, but not completely off the Christmas menu as it is part of the tradition and, let's admit it, the extravagance that accompanies the festivities.

Traditional Spanish Christmas cakes such as alfajores, polvorones, dried fruit and turrones share a place on the Christmas table with the products of other countries: globalisation at its best allows us to enjoy festive food from every corner of the world during the most family-oriented celebrations of the year. All this without ever losing touch with our roots, because the end of year cava and grapes can never be replaced..

Learn how to set your Christmas table!


Featured Spanish Products


Turron is the typical spanish Christmas' candy. Made of almond and honey, makes the favourite dessert in Christmas at Spain.

If you've never tried turron, your best buy is the 1880 Sampler tin, including a beautiful tin full of Mini Treats:

  • 6 mini Jijonas Turron
  • 6 mini Alicante Turron
  • 4 mini Alicante tortas
  • 4 mini Chocolate tortitas
  • 5 Stuffed Almonds
  • 2 mini Marzipan
  • 1 packet of Peladillas sugar almonds.

But if you want to experience the Top Spanish Christmas dessert... Then you gotta have the 1880 Joya Supreme Gift Box! Incomparable Marcona almonds make up the base for these 'suprema' quality gourmet bars. You get:

  • 1 Alicante Turron
  • 2 Jijona Turron
  • 1 Yema Turron
  • 1 Torta
  • 2 Peladillas
  • 2 Pi˝ones
  • 2 Polvorones
  • 2 Almendras
  • 2 Mazapan
  • 1 Pan de CadÝz
  • 1 Fruta

Over 9 pounds of the finest Spanish candy for these Christmas!

Spanish products Gift Baskets

If you're not into candy, you might want to try some of the finest products from Spain. To do so, one great choice is our featured Spanish Fiesta Gift Basket

A true taste of Spain starts out with its famous cheeses and finishes with some vegetarian delights. First we feature the three cheeses; Tronchon, Campobello and Mahon. Tronchon is a soft cheese made from a blend of three milks and comes from the southeastern part of the country. Campobello is also a blended milk cheese, but it's the sheep's milk that you notice the most. Mahon is a cow's milk cheese from the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean. Also included are a bottle of Gazpacho, a wonderfully spicy Chorizo and a jar of Gordal olives. A great gift for the Spanish food lover in your life.

And don't forget to check out our new cookbook: Favourite Mediterranean Recipes!


New books

We've selected some books on Spain's christmas celebration and its culture, but you can find many more in our travel guide and cookbook sections!

Christmas in Spain (Christmas Around the World from World Book)

Describes in text and illustrations how Christmas is celebrated in Spain. Also includes stories, songs, recipes, and craft projects
Christmas in Spain
A Journey into Spanish Christmas Traditions
Reviewer: Kathie Fisher (Wilmington, NC)
I was in search of anything revealing the secrets of Christmas customs and traditions in Spain. My search took me to the Virgina Beach Library where, lo and behold!, I found Christmas in Spain by Valjean McLenighan, published by Passport Books. This was the only comprehnesive resource I was able to find. I am delighted to say it was quite suitable for a college level Spanish class project. McLenighan organized the book in chapters catering to general information and specific celebrations throughout the season. It addressed rural and urban culture. It included information about food, decorations, music, art, the Nativity, Noche Buena, Christmas Day, New Year celebrations, and Three King's day. I was particularly pleased with the amount of time and effort invested by the author in regional customs and their history. I was able to make ornaments and a nacimiento from the directions provided. McLenighan made reading and learning easier by including terms and meanings. I recommend this book for teachers and students to utilize as a comprehensive resource for Christmas traditions in Spain.


And don't forget to check out our new cookbook: Favourite Mediterranean Recipes!

Kind regards,

Jordi VallÚs

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