Ahhh, the wonderful smell of Latin Christmas foods Keep reading to find dishes, main appetizers, and desserts we use to celebrate not only Nochebuena but also throughout the Christmas season including the Epiphany on January 6 in Hispanic South America from Colombia to Argentina.
One thing I would like to clarify is that growing up in Colombia we learned that the American continent was one divided into three regions, North America which included Canada and the U.S., Central America from Mexico to Panama and South America from Colombia to Argentina. That is why I decided to call this article Latin Christmas Foods in South America.
In Colombia we love cooking with family, so we also make tamales (especially in the Atlantic Coast), serve pork leg accompanied with salad, and rice with vegetables. In the area close to Bogotá we serve “ajiaco” a traditional chicken soup made with more than 4 kinds of potatoes, served with capers and heavy cream.
Throughout the holiday we maintain in our homes “buñuelos” -fritters, “ojuelas” -fried corn dough with sugar that we eat with guava paste, hot chocolate, “natilla” -sweet custard.
During Christmas my mother used to make a dessert that combined colorful gelatins of different flavors with condensed milk.
For Christmas Eve Colombians make “postre de natas” a milky dessert that includes rum, “brevas con queso” the first fruit of the fig with cheese, and “flan” a dessert we make with condensed milk, eggs and vanilla.
Drinks include “sabajón” which is like eggnog and the typical “aguardiente” a drink we make from anise and that we drink in a shot. “ponche” is also very common and we sometimes make it without any alcohol so the children can enjoy it.
From Colombia to Argentina
Hispanic Christmas foods in Venezuela include “hallacas” which are tamales made from a mixture of beef or pork, and other ingredients, such as raisins, olives, paprika, capers and bacon according to one of my readers: Reindertot.
Venezuelans also serve turkey with salad and cold vegetables, green herbs or fruits. Dessert anyone? Venezuelans serve black cake, sweet papaya, and sweet milk.
In Peru Christmas dinner features turkey or pig as the main dish and they serve it with a variety of salads, and of course the popular tamales. Fruit cake, hot chocolate, “panteón” -traditional cake, and apple pure are desserts.
In Argentina the tradition is to do “asado a la parrilla” or barbecue of any kinds of meat. The tradition calls for coal and patience to make a perfect “asado.” Some appetizers are “empanadas salteñas” which include peppers, onions, meat, hard boiled eggs, olives, and raisings.
Desserts vary also depending on the products of each country. The usage of vanilla, milk, cinnamon, coconut, and caramel make the main ingredients list for Hispanic Christmas desserts.
Overall Latin Christmas foods in South America are a delectable collection of home made foods that serve to reunite the families and to pass tradition from one generation to another.