It’s only three weeks to Christmas…where has the time gone?!
Our show provides a tasty mix of comparative tastings, innovative ideas, networking opportunities and inspirational experiences – it’s also a wonderful opportunity to get a heads-up on the very latest trends shaping the industry. To be fair, the traditional Christmas dinner remains pretty much unchanged from year to year. That’s the thing with traditions – they don’t change much! Have you ever wondered what people in other parts of the world like to tuck into on the 25th of December? It varies quite a lot!
Christmas dinner around the world.
In Puerto Rico roast suckling pig, or lechón asado, is served for the Christmas feast. It is traditionally cooked over charcoal, on a spit, which means many hours of turning and tending. It’s served with arroz con gandules (rice, pigeon peas and pork cooked in sofrito sauce), plátano (plantains) and pasteles (a dough made from mashed green bananas filled with meat and wrapped/cooked in banana leaves).
Only about 1% of the population in Japan is Christian so until quite recently they didn’t celebrate Christmas at all. However, in 1974 some clever marketing folk came up with the “Kurisumasu ni wa Kentakkii” campaign, meaning “Kentucky for Christmas”. Bizarrely it caught on – lines can be up to two hours long and people often pre-order in advance.
The Portuguese like to tuck into cod and boiled potatoes but leave a lot of room for cakes and pastries. They have two types of Christmas cake; Bolo Rei, a nut and fruit concoction and Bolo Rainha, a variation with no candied fruit. Filhoses are also popular – these are fried dough covered in cinnamon and sugar. Broa, small sweets made from egg yolk and sweet potato, also feature.
Greenland is rapidly becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination. However if you go there for a Christmas break and some friendly locals ask you over for Christmas dinner it may be advisable to politely decline, depending how strong your stomach is. That’s because the traditional meal consists of mattak, strips of whale blubber encased in whale shin! This is so chewy that you are better off just swallowing a mouthful whole. They also serve “kiviak”, a dish made from the flesh from auks buried in whole sealskin for several months and served once it begins to decompose…
Get on-trend this Christmas.
The biggest food trend right now (which you can’t fail to have noticed) is the move away from meat. Partly that’s because sheep and cows produce huge amounts of methane. Pigs and poultry produce only about a quarter as much, so the traditional turkey, with a few sausages on the side, is not so bad. A kilo of turkey meat, in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, is the equivalent of driving your car 25 miles. There are also some serious animal welfare concerns around the intensive rearing of turkeys and pigs, so it’s best to get your meat from somewhere with proper provenance – which our show is perfect for!
Tesco’s annual Christmas report from November 2018 revealed that one fifth of hosts will cater for vegan or vegetarian diets this year and that there is a “clear North-South divide”. In Scotland, just five per cent of families will sit down to a vegan or vegetarian Christmas dinner compared to nine per cent of people living in the South. If you’re looking for vegetarian options, then the BBC Good Food website has recipes for a cranberry and lentil bake, a vegan nut roast and lots of non-meat sides. Tofu turkey is also an option with a number of ready-made versions available from some of our more right-on supermarkets as well as lots of recipes for making your own versions at home.
Bring in the new.
While the traditional turkey with all the trimmings is still the overwhelming dish of choice for December 25th, what we eat on the other 364 days of the year is changing fast. Apart from a rapid shift towards plant-based meals and flexitarianism other trends include a growing preference for low and alcohol-free drinks, West-African inspired cuisine, sustainable-snacking (home-prepared nibbles like hard boiled eggs, pickled vegetables, mini dips and dippers), seacuterie (cured seafood) and Middle Eastern cuisine (with spices such as sumac, baharat and zaatar). For fresh helpings of the latest ideas, innovations and trends be sure to attend our show on Wednesday 5th and Thursday 6th February at Westpoint, Exeter!
Registration for the show is now open so why not register now and print your own badge, and get organised before Christmas comes along!