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Try these classic Spanish Christmas dishes

Are you lucky enough to be spending Christmas in Spain? One of the pros of caravan ownership is that you can experience all the different traditions and festivals from the comfort of one of our holiday homes. That means dancing up a storm at the local fiesta or experiencing some of Spain’s incredible cuisine.

Like many Europeans, the Spanish prefer a huge feast on Christmas Eve rather than our more traditional Christmas Dinner. Christmas is celebrated above all by sharing food with friends and family, so here are some classic Spanish Christmas dishes for you to try.

Appetiser: the perfect prawn

From gambas to langoustines, the Spanish table is always heaving with outstanding shellfish. You’ll find them on the festive table in various guises but if you can, get hold of the exquisite red prawns or gambas rojas of Huelva. Serve them plain boiled with a slice of lemon for the perfect prawny treat.

Other perfect appetisers are slices of the much-prized pata negra ham fed on acorns, or crispy little croquettas that burst with flavour.

First course: a delicious seafood soup

The Spanish love their fish and seafood so what better way to celebrate than with a delicious soup packed with mussels, prawns, clams and monkfish? If you prefer something lighter then a salad fits the bill, especially when you’re celebrating in the warmer parts of the country. Salads are usually lightly dressed combinations of vegetables and seafood but adding slices of the blood oranges that come into season around Christmastime is a delicious festive twist.

Second course: A Spanish surf and turf

While we’re not suggesting that you serve meat and fish together on the same plate, both are popular choices for the main event. A suckling pig with its crisp and golden crackling could be on the table, or a turkey stuffed with luxurious and decadent truffles.

More often than not, the meat of choice is lamb with an Andalusian dish of slow-roasted lamb with potatoes proving a particular favourite. If you’re a pescatarian or you prefer something a little lighter, a whole roasted bream or turbot fits the bill. Or you could try one of Spain’s many bacalao (salt cod) dishes for a highly traditional Christmas.

Dessert: a traditional feast

The Spanish love their festive desserts and the bakeries are stuffed with delicious treats at this time of year. In fact, after any of the Christmas feasts, a three-part dessert awaits, commencing with the familiar flan before sweet treats such as candied fruits, turron nougat and marzipan biscuits. Finally out comes the Spanish brandy and liqueurs like Orujo providing a boozy end to the meal.

A moist lemon and olive oil cake is a must-have on the Christmas table while the ubiquitous turron appears in many different guises including the turron dura from Alicante and the turron blando from Jijona which is much softer. All use beautiful Spanish almonds and honey as their base.

Finally, the festive table wouldn’t be complete without arroz con leche. A million miles away from school rice pudding, this creamy iced dessert is a complete delight and utterly delicious!

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