Our Portuguese winemakers Quinta do Crasto and Bodegas Fillaboa tell us how they’ll be spending Christmas this year: plenty of sweet treats, seafood and, of course, fantastic wine.
Quinta do Crasto
“Christmas traditions in Portugal and Douro are above all about family! It is common to celebrate around the table, on the 24th with Bacalhau (salted cod) and then midnight mass. After the church, the family gathers and exchanges gifts. On the 25th, lunch again with the family with turkey on the menu. Beautiful Douro wines are always on the table as well as Port wine to toast. Usually, when families are big, one can divide 24th between one side and 25th in the other side of the family.
On Christmas Eve, a family dinner known as the night of the “Consoada” is celebrated. The word Consoada refers to a small meal that is taken at the end of a day’s fasting and derives from the Latin word consolare, meaning “to comfort”. For most Catholics, (Advent) the period of preparation for Christmas, begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. The traditional fish for the 24th evening is Bacalhau (salted cod), but other regions eat Polvo (Octopus). Some of the traditional pastries and desserts served at Christmas are Sonhos – Choux Pastry Puffs, Rabanadas – French Toast, Pasteis de Nata – Custard Cup, Aletria – Sweet Angel Hair Dessert.”
Rita Camelo, Quinta Do Crasto
“Christmas in Spain is a time for family, gifts and good food. On Christmas Eve, families get together to have dinner, celebrate and drink and toast with good wine. They sing Christmas carols and eat typical treats like turrón and polvorones, and religious families go to midnight mass. Father Christmas will visit many homes on that night, and on Christmas Day the first gifts and toys are unwrapped. This day is a national holiday, families get together to have lunch and then go out around the city to see the Christmas lights.
Christmas meals are very big. They begin with the starters, where one can find cured Iberian meats, cheeses, smoked foods etc. The dinner normally includes cured Iberian ham, shellfish, fish, soups, broths and meats. The most popular delicacies are roast turkey and lamb, bream, oysters and eels, amongst others. The dishes are always accompanied by red and white Spanish wines.
The dessert is also a very important part of the meal. It normally includes typical almond-based treats such as turrones, polvorones, mantecados and marzipan. These treats are eaten throughout the Christmas season, they are only eaten at this time of the year, and are loved by all. The Three King’s day is also a very important part of Christmas in Spain, on that day the delicious Roscón is eaten for breakfast, it is a round cake which is dipped in hot chocolate and hides a surprise inside which usually consists of a little toy.”
Monica Pamplona, Bodegas Masaveu/Bodegas Fillaboa