FFE Magazine

What Do People Eat for Christmas Across Europe?

In Europe, Christmas food and traditions are quite diverse. With cultures spanning thousands of centuries, some of these dishes have been passed from one generation to another. Get to know your favourite European countries in this collection of Christmas food across Europe.



Photo from ukonlinegoodies

Christmas pudding


Traditional Christmas food in the United Kingdom would include roast turkey or goose with rich, nutty stuffing. Tradition says that two people should pull the wishbone (bone shaped like a “Y”) from the turkey. The person with the longer end of the bone makes the wish.


Afterwards, a dense and fruity dessert known as the Christmas pudding is eaten to ward off evil spirits.




A selection of 13 desserts


The French also celebrate Christmas with roasted chicken or chestnut-stuffed turkey or goose. Other dishes include oysters and foie gras. What is remarkable though is that in the French region of Provence, families end Christmas supper with a selection of 13 desserts. These desserts are typically walnuts, cheese, almonds, raisins, biscuits, calisson of Aix-en-Provence, nougat blanc, nougat noir au mile, apples, pears, oranges, winter melon, and fougasse (Provencal bread). Tradition says that the 13 desserts represent Jesus and his 12 apostles.

Desserts are laid out on Christmas eve and are kept on the table until December 27.





Traditionally, Christmas eve is considered a day of fasting in most German regions. Some still uphold this custom by only eating vegetable or pea soup. For the majority of the people, Christmas feasts often include Gebackener Karpfen (baked carp) and Christstollen or Dresdener Stollen (fruitcake with nuts). Cakes and pastries such a gingerbreads and cookies are very popular as well during the Christmas season. Not only are they popular because of their sweet and delicious flavour but also because of the many stories attached to them. For example, old tales say that in Christstollen, the word stollen represents the manger of the baby Jesus.





Most German-speaking countries do not just share a common language. Christmas food across these three countries is also similar. On Christmas eve, most people fast. Only soup with strudels is served. On Christmas day, people dine on baked carp, roast goose, red cabbage, and potato dumplings.


Similar to Germany all three countries have a sweet tooth and enjoy munching on gingerbread, fruitcakes, cookies, and biscuits. In Austria, the Bischofsbrot (Bishop’s bread) or cake with dried fruit and chocolate pieces is a common Christmas treat.

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