The world over, Christmas customs are pretty much defined by the food we eat. Sure, it’s a religious affair, a commercial conundrum and a month of flashy Christmas lights. But really it’s the food that we eat around Christmas that gives us that feeling of sharing and hope and home.
Colombians sure do love their food too, especially at Christmas time. Here is a list of foods that are Colombian Christmas customs you just have to try while you’re here. From banana leaf-wrapped bundles of yum to fried cheese bread, be sure to try each and every one of these Christmas meals but don’t blame me if you don’t fit into any of your clothing come New Year, ok?
Cheese bread balls of deliciousness. I tried to make these myself one Christmas, it didn’t go so well. Leave it the professionals and the abuelas, they know how it’s done. While buñuelos are a Christmas food, they are also eaten throughout the year for breakfast or as a snack. Nom!
Natilla is a sweet custard-like wobbly pudding. It’s made with panela, a sweetener made from sugar cane. Some people even add Aguardiente to the mix. Aguardiente makes everything better right? Even dessert?? Apparently.
Another fried pastry to enjoy with Natilla and Buñuelos. They’re made with flour, butter, sugar, orange juice and orange zest and then fried, but like most Colombia dishes, ingredients tend to vary from region to region.
Dulce de Brevas or Brevas Caladas are figs cooked in a sugarcane or panela syrup and served with white cheese on the side. I’ve yet to try this one, but it sounds damn tasty.
This is a traditional dish from Tolima, which I recently tried during a trip to the region with LivingCol. It is usually served on special occasions, not just Christmas, and is pork stuffed with rice, peas, potatoes and spices , cooked in a brick oven for about ten to twelve hours. Deli!
There are many variations of tamales in Colombia, but what they do have in common is they are all wrapped in banana leaves. Inside you can find anything from vegetables and chicken to herbs, rice and pork.
Cañón de Cerdo Pork Roast
There’s nothing quite like a roast for Christmas is there? Well Colombians get some pork on their fork too around Christmas time. Cañon de Cerdo is from Antioquia and is made for dinner parties, especially during Christmas time.
Now get out there and stuff your bellies as well as your stockings this Christmas. Felíz Navidad!