“There the huge sirloin reek’d; hard by plum-porridge stood, and Christmas pie; Nor fail’d old Scotland to produce, At such high tide, her savoury goose.” – Sir Walter Scott
What makes the perfect Christmas?
It’s an impossible question to answer, as we all have our own individual idea of a great Christmas. Some of us fantasise about the classic sentiment of a family centred holiday; huddled round a crackling fireplace, nibbling on ginger bread and sipping hot chocolate. For others it’s unwrapping a mountain of presents; or watching your loved ones reaction when they finally set eyes on your long thought out gift. Many still celebrate the original meaning of Christmas by attending midnight carol singing at the local church; or using the season to spread good will and promote charity and giving.
No matter what activities make up your Christmas, for most of us, Christmas dinner is the centerpiece for all Yuletide celebration. A traditional dinner encompasses the ethos of Christmas – spending time with family and friends, joy, laughter and indulgence in fine food!
Though what exactly is a traditional Christmas dinner?
In France, it is Le Reveillon – a late supper on Christmas Eve. Although it varies slightly from region to region, most families go for either goose, turkey with chestnuts, or oysters. In Rome and Southern Italy, a dish of fried eels, named il capitone, is a firm favourite, with fish remaining a common theme throughout the rest of Italy. Many households prepare as much as 20 different fish dishes for the occasion!
The Peruvians eat on Noche Buena (Christmas Eve); where families get together to feast on turkey dressed in pineapple and cherries, stuffed with ground beef and peanuts. Marzipan, raisins, almonds and panettone are usually in abundance along with a big cup of hot chocolate! In Africa, Ethiopian families will usually eat Doro wat, a spicy chicken stew with injera – a sourdough flat bread.
So what festive meal do we have here in Scotland?
Served on Christmas day, we Scots will most likely have the winter favourite of soup for a starter – cock a leekie, spicy parsnip and carrot and coriander are popular choices. However, if you’re not a fan of soup, freshly caught smoked salmon is never in short supply, and is chiefly served with caviar as a salmon & caviar rilette.
For the main meal, roast turkey with cranberry jelly, roast potatoes, parsnips and brussel sprouts are customarily on the menu. Many families may also have multiple meats as part of the spread; Aberdeen Angus beef, pheasant, pork, goose and venison are top picks.
We Scots love our stuffing – whether it’s in the turkey or on the side. A simple oatmeal stuffing for example could be madeinto a delicious addition to any Christmas meal with the right ingredients and touch of creativity. Kilted chipolata sausages (sausages wrapped in bacon), gravy and even steak pie are also included in a traditional spread.
A delicious and rich traditional Scottish Christmas pudding will usually be the dessert. This is served with brandy butter, rum sauce, custard or fresh cream.
Although, a traditional Christmas dinner varies widely throughout the world, we at Speyside Specialities think you can’t beat what’s right at home – especially in the rich and natural landscape of Scotland. In our opinion, a classic Scottish dinner made right, could potentially be the best Christmas dinner ever!