What happens on Christmas Eve in Catalonia?

If you are in town for Christmas you may wonder what the locals are up to. The answer is eating and drinking! Christmas Eve is a very important part of the seasonal festivities, and is when Catalan people enjoy one of the most lavish meals of the Christmas period.

Just like in other countries, many traditional foods are eaten at this dinner. Be sure to look out for these on menus throughout Catalunya at Christmas too.
A traditional Christmas eve dinner begins with Carn d’Olla for a starter, a soup made with a large piece of meat that has been slow cooked for hours to create a rich stock before the meat is removed and large pieces of pasta that look like snail shells called Galets are added. The result is an incredibly rich and satisfying soup.

For the main course the meat that was removed from the soup is then eaten. In many households this is eaten alongside a variety of special tapas dishes such as shellfish such as langoustines or clams, jamon or other charcuterie. These are typically luxury and expensive foods.

For dessert a traditional is nougat with almonds called turron is very popular. Sweets made from almond paste called polvorones are also popular. After the sweet treats, it is traditional to go out and meet other families and wish them a Happy Christmas. Everybody usually drinks lots of Cava, sings Christmas carols (Billancicos) and generally make merry!

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