Christmas delights on the Costa del Sol
Poinsettias blooming on every roundabout, the smell of roast chestnuts spreading through the streets in the evening and supermarkets shelves full of Christmas sweets – some of the signs that Christmas has arrived to the Costa del Sol. A time of joy, peace and love, but also the time to enjoy some of the year’s best meals. Andalusian gastronomy based on Mediterranean ingredients and influenced by Arabic cuisine offers numerous delicacies. Some of them can only be tasted during Christmas, so if you are spending the last weeks of the year on The Costa del Sol do not hesitate to discover flavors and to indulge in an Andalusian Christmas with dishes and sweets.
CHRISTMAS EVE MENU
Christmas Eve dinner in Spain can be considered the biggest meal of the year. Traditionally starting quite late, around 10 pm and is followed by a visit to the church for the Christmas mass. There is not a specific rule for Christmas dinner, every family has its own preferred dishes and serve the most elaborate meal. Usually they start with a selection of hams, sausages, cheeses, pates and various egg based starters. Normally there will be an abundance of seafood, especially shellfish such as; prawns, lobsters and oysters. The essential part of the dinner is a roast meat of some sort, turkey, lamb, duck, veal etc… The meals are accompanied by delicious white and red wines. The Christmas table is set with the best families silverware and crockery, and usually include mandarins, walnuts and a selection of dry fruits.
Our Suggestion: “Pata Negra” – The best quality “Jamón Ibérico”, cured ham, made from black Iberian pigs that are fed acorns. Some of the best, protected denomination of origin Spanish cured hams comes from the Andalusian provinces of Huelva, Córdoba (Valle de Los Pedroches) and Sevilla.
Absolutely the most popular sweet during the Christmas season is “turrón” – an original Arabic sweet treat in rectangular shapes made from honey, eggs, sugar and toasted nuts. Nowadays they are available in a number of different types and flavors, but the most important distinction is whether it is hard and brittle, known as “turrón duro” (Turrón de Alicante) or soft and chewy, known as “turrón blando” (Turrón de Jijona). However it is not just about “turrón”, for all the sweet lovers there are plenty of other Christmas sweets, that continue to be handmade by small manufactures or by nuns such as: “yema” – marzipan made of eggs, “polvorones”- shortbreads of Andalusian origins made of flour, lard, sugar, milk and almonds and covered with powdered sugar and “roscos de vino” – from Málaga, made in the shape of little rings with a touch of wine.
Our Suggestion: For the good quality Christmas sweets – chocolate shops for example Goyo or Lepanto in Marbella town. To accompany the sweets – sherry from Jerez (province of Seville) or “Vino Dulce Malaga” (sweet dessert wine).
NEW YEARS EVE GOOD LUCK TRADITION
The Spanish New Year’s Eve tradition established over 100 years ago consists of eating a grape with each chime of the bell at midnight on December 31st. According to tradition, for each eaten grape you will have a one month of prosperity and good fortune in the coming year. Whether it is a family celebrating at home around the TV, a group of friends in the city center main square or guests at a New Year’s Gala, they will all eat 12 grapes rather than risking their good fate for the upcoming year.
Our Suggestion: Buy seedless grapes and prepare ahead small packages of 12 grapes each.
THE THREE KINGS SURPRISE BREAKFAST
The day of The Three Kings on 6th of January is the most anticipated day of the year for all the children around the whole country. It is the day of sharing Christmas gifts and eating the “Roscón de los reyes”, a ring shape sweet bread filled with cream or chocolate and decorated by colorful candied fruits with a paper crown in the middle. The surprise is hidden within the cake: if you find a small figure of the king in your slice you can wear the paper crown, if you find a dry bean you are meant to pay for the cake or buy another one!
EATING OUT DURING CHRISTMAS
Thanks to recent year’s trends of eating out, not only on New Year’s Eve, but also Christmas Eve there is now a wide range of options to be able to enjoy a delicious Christmas dinner without having to cook. On the Costa del Sol there are plenty of establishments that organize succulent buffet dinners featuring Christmas carols for Christmas Eve and luxury gala dinner parties with live music for New Year´s Eve. Make sure to book in advance!
Our Suggestion: The Puente Romano Marbella Hotel and The Marbella Club Hotel
Christmas season on the Costa del Sol is a sunny gastronomical heaven. If you are inspired to enjoy a sunny Christmas, do not hesitate to contact Marbella Unique Properties and we will be delighted to offer a selection of beachside property along the coast, as well as luxury mountainside homes for that Unique Marbella Christmas.