8 Dishes for a Greek Christmas

8 Dishes for a Greek Christmas

Christmas in Greece is one of the most festive times of the year. From the kalanta (carols) to the warm Christmas lights, the Christmas season is a cherished time to reflect and rejoice with family and friends over delicious food. In Greece, following the Nativity Fast and Christmas Eve services, an elaborate meal is usually prepared at home for all to enjoy. 

Since the traditional Greek celebration lasts for 12 days starting on Dec. 25th, there’s certainly no shortage of favorite dishes to delight in each year. In fact, there are so many scrumptious choices that narrowing down the menu can be quite a task! If you’re planning your own Greek Christmas celebration, here are a few tried and true favorites that simply can’t be missed this holiday season:

Avgolemono

Made at Go Greek using our homemade chicken stock, tempered egg yolks, brown rice, shredded chicken, and lemon juice, this traditional soup is an essential part of a Greek Christmas dinner. Avgolemono is so refreshing that it is typically served as the first course in the meal. 

Christopsomo Bread

Christopsomo bread is pronounced hree-STOHP-soh-moh and preparing this Greek Christmas bread is a time-honored tradition in Greek households. Also known as Christ’s bread, only the utmost care and attention is put into crafting these sweet loaves filled with raisins, walnuts, and spices. It is believed that the more effort and love that is put into making christopsomo bread, the greater a home’s good fortune in the new year. 

When making the bread, be sure to select ingredients of the finest possible quality. After you’ve made and filled the dough, create a cross symbol on top of it all using dough strips before placing the bread  into the oven. Families also enjoy decorating christopsomo loaves, sometimes including boats or other important images of Greek life. 

Stuffed Cabbage

Stuffed cabbage leaves are a favorite in Greece at Christmastime. In Northern Greece, this dish is known as yiaprakia, while other areas of Greece refer to it as lahanodolmades. There are a variety of ways to make stuffed cabbage, but the most traditional involves the use of the same thick egg-lemon sauce used in avgolemono. The cabbage, often brine soaked for weeks, is usually stuffed with ground pork. Other ways to make stuffed cabbage? Try tomato sauce instead of avgolemono and ground lamb or beef, instead.

Pork or Lamb Meat Dish

While turkey is gaining in popularity, a meat dish consisting of pork or lamb is still the traditional favorite for a Greek Christmas dinner. Slow-roasted lamb with lemon or roasted pork with nuts are just a couple of the seemingly endless varieties seen in Greece at Christmas. If you do choose to include turkey, put a Greek spin on your dish by stuffing the turkey with raisins, pine nuts, and chestnuts. 

Baklava

Baklava is a traditional pastry that is loved year round, but is always available at Christmas. Baklava is made using phyllo (fillo) dough and walnuts, as well as spices and sweeteners, including cinnamon and honey. Making baklava at home is known to be time-consuming, but the end result is a rich, delicious pastry dish. 

Melomakarona

These cookies are a Greek Christmas staple. Otherwise known as Greek honey cookies, they are a little like baklava in a cookie. You can make them using olive and vegetable oils, along with walnuts, oranges, cinnamon, nutmeg, and plenty of honey. Bonus? Melomakarona cookies make for a beautiful and thoughtful homemade Christmas gift!

Kourabiedes

These powdery, almond cookies are usually served alongside melomakarona cookies. Kourabiedes are made using ingredients that include roasted almonds (preferably slivered), vanilla, brandy, and as much confectioner’s sugar as you can manage. You can shape your cookies into Christmas shapes or go the traditional, Greek route by rolling them into balls. The result is a snowy cookie similar to shortbread that is sure to become a Christmas favorite. Kala Xristouyena! (Merry Christmas!) 

In need of catering this holiday season? Contact Go Greek for your next big event. We offer authentic Greek food using fresh, simple ingredients. Follow us on Facebook to see our latest updates and get a closer look at how we operate.