Huw Jones casts his eyes across the globe and explores his options for Christmas Dinner this year…

I’m all for British tradition, but I must confess, I sometimes get a little tired of the mince pies and other time-honoured treats obligatory at this time of year. Looking to the rest of the world for inspiration, I thought I would create my ultimate Christmas feast.

I don’t want to stray too far from the tradition of cooking a Christmas bird, so the main event for me this year is going to be roast ptarmigan, a game bird of the grouse family, and a firm Yuletide tradition in Iceland. Ptarmigan are hunted for sport in winter in Iceland, and known as the ‘snow chicken’ in North America. It’s illegal to buy or sell the ‘rock’ variety, but people can hunt them for personal consumption.

I do plan to keep my two favourite features of Christmas dinner at the Jones’, which I simply can’t do without: Parmesan-roasted parsnips and cocktail sausages wrapped in streaky bacon. Completing the spread will be hearty Swedish additions of scalloped potato casserole and ‘brunkål’ – cabbage flavoured with syrup. What a medley.

If, like me, you’re not a massive fan of Christmas pudding or classic cakes entombed in marzipan, you could eat your way through a German gingerbread house (an idea that comes from the witch’s house in German fairytale Hansel and Gretel) or have a slice of all-American pecan pie. Otherwise, go for the colourful, fruit-packed Portuguese ‘bolo rei’ – meaning ‘king cake’ and inspired by the tale of the Three Kings following the Star of Bethlehem.

As a celebratory drink I’m going to try some Cuban eggnog, made with condensed milk, rum, sugar syrup, lemon rind, cinnamon and egg yolk – a drink believed to have crossed the Atlantic during the 18th Century – before I retreat to the sofa for a hard-earned snooze…

Alex Everill

Alex Everill

Whenever he goes anywhere new, Alex remembers what he ate above all else. Days are always planned around food with life stuff slotted in between, where possible. He loves a good bowl of ramen or phở, a good cup of coffee, anything Medieval and graphic novel adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays.

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