With Christmas well on its way (hurrah!) and festivities in full swing, I thought I would share a little insight with you about a typical Spanish Christmas or, should I say 'Navidad'. Having spent many a festive season in España, I have seen that it certainly differs to here in the UK, but is no doubt still a magical time for celebrations, families and most importantly, amazing food!
Now, as always in Spain, there are loads of celebrations and events that take place in the run up to, and after, Christmas Day. The first of many festivities takes place on December 8th - Immaculada - AKA the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, which is a public holiday. This is a feast of the Roman Catholic Church and as a large percentage of the Spanish population are Roman Catholics, many people consider this as a really important day. The streets are lit up and there is a buzz in the air - Christmas has begun!!
Coming to the actual big day itself, this is also a little different to the UK as in Spain most people tend to eat their Christmas dinner on Nochebuena or Christmas Eve, before they go down to a Midnight Mass carol service. At this time of the year, it is traditional to eat a sweet treat called turrón/torrone, which is nougat made of toasted sweet almonds and tastes incredible.
And although Santa does indeed visit Spanish niños (children), he only leaves the one present on Christmas Eve! January 6th is the day that children really look forward to... when the three kings visit and bring them their presents. Huge parades roll through the towns on Three Kings' Day and the Reyes Magos (three kings), and their pages, shower sweets over delighted children - a truly wonderful experience.
It's crazy to think how different cultures interpret Christmas in such different ways but it's always good to learn about and try out those distinctive cultures in your own home. And one way to bring a bit of Spanish fun to your Christmas is by trying out my new unique paella recipe - I have put a twist on the traditional method to make the most festive paella for fun! Now, we all know that Christmas is a time for indulgence, sharing and fun and all those things signify paella in one!
And as all good Christmas elves know, it's best to stick to the four main food groups - candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup - and so - I have come up with a very quick and simple bonkers recipe for a sweet 'no cook' paella, which incorporates only these foods. You just need a pan and some sweety stuff and you are off... try it, set one up, stick Elf on in the background and give away the paella love with festive best wishes!
Sweet Christmassy Paella:
Serves as many as you want it too!
Cook time: None!
Candy (your choice)
Syrup (your choice)
1 paella pan - the bigger the better!
1 small saucepan
1 microplain or small box grater
1. Place those candy corns into the pan
2. Mix in the chocolates and sweets and hide some of them so it's even more of a surprise!
3. Decorate the whole pan with loads of candy canes
4. When you serve it up, drizzle over a little bit of the syrup of your choice, (kind of like squeezing the lemon onto a fresh paella, you see it all relates back somehow!!)