We take a whistlestop tour to hear how Christmas traditions differ around Spain. There’s the usual Jamón Iberico, cheese, and seafood, along with some southern Christmas Biscuits from Olivares – And plenty of wine!
Bodegas Jimenez Landi
“We assemble a Nativity Set in our family home, and we get together in front of it to sing traditional Christmas songs like our forefathers used to do. Many of these songs are very old and quite unknown, but very special for us.
Red cabbage, seafood and lamb are the most common dishes at Christmas. We understand our gathering as a moment to share, and that’s why we also set the table with platters with cold cuts and cheese. Christmas sweets like marzipan, turrón and dried fruits are always “on display” so we can enjoy them anytime we want.”
– Eduardo Guernica, Bodegas Jiminez Landi
Guerinda (Bodegas Maximo Abete)
“In our house, the traditional menu at Christmas Eve has normally: Some appetizers to get a bite like cheeses or ham, pate or foie, and any kind or shellfish like prawns, barnacles or mussels. As starters, always cardoon, which is a seasonal vegetable from the Navarra’s “Huerta”, and stew (?) soup (in Spanish, Sopa de cocido). And the main course any fish like red sea bream or squids (cooked in its ink). For dessert, it’ss very typical a fruit salad and lots of “turrón”. And for drinking, of course, Guerinda Wines! Our family always prefer our wines than other different ones, and we always use the opportunity to taste with them the new vintages.
La Blanca pairs very well with cheeses. Our uncle, Javier Abete (Maximo’s brother), makes a quince jelly at the beginning of the winter and we enjoy a lot preparing toasts with it and any cream cheese (like camembert, for example). The salty taste of the cheese and the sweetness of the quite pair fantastic with the acidity and creamy of our Chardonnay. At our Christmas Eve, La Blanca is too great with the pate and, of course with shellfish and the fish.”
– Maria Abete, Guerinda (Bodegas Maximo Abete)
“Christmas is such a special time of the year! The Olivares family spends Christmas Eve gathering together, 4 generations around a big table, what a joy! Encarna Olivares is in charge of Christmas Eve dinner menu. She is very passionate about cooking so every year she tries to surprise the family with new tapas and quirky dishes. Christmas day lunch is all about traditions, following her mother’s recipe with her sister Magdalena and daughter Elena helping, they cook a traditional dish called “Cocido con Pelotas” – a meatball stew -, a very well-known dish that all the locals eat on this occasion.
Wine cannot be missed on the table during the festive season, so Paco and Pascual take care of this part, they choose Olivares Rosé, and Altos de la Hoya is ideal for the tapas menu on Christmas Eve with Olivares Altos de la Hoya. For the rich stew on Christmas day, Olivares Crianza is more than likely to follow Christmas lunch. There is no doubt family, local food and wine are what make this time of the year so special for us, and we would like to share one of our favourite Christmas pastries with you:
- 350g wheat flour
- 100g Almonds
- 100g Hazelnuts
- 200g Sugar
- 2 Egg yolks
- 240g butter (or 200g lard to be completely authentic)
- Heat the oven 200ºc and roast the almonds and the hazelnuts in the oven tray.
- In the meantime mix all the above ingredients by hand in a big bowl. Take your time and make sure everything is well-mixed.
- Make little spheres shape and place them on the oven tray and just press gently with your hand to make the base a bit flat, repeat until you fill up the tray. Before you put it into the oven, brush the top of Mantecados with egg to get a golden shiny touch.
- Reduce the heat to 180º C and place the trays for 25 minutes. The results should be delicious MANTECAOS with a crunchy texture.”
– Ana Maria Martinez, Bodegas Olivares