The Malta Independent 15 July 2024, Monday
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The traditional Christmas dish remains stuffed turkey, but other influences creeping in

Saturday, 24 December 2016, 09:15 Last update: about 9 years ago

The traditional Christmas Day main dish remains the stuffed turkey, however other influences have begun to inch their way into Maltese cuisine.

Food and Beverage Director at the Intercontinental Malta Nikolai Calleja told The Malta Independent that every Maltese looks for the traditional turkey with stuffing during this Christmas season, not just on Christmas day, but also during Christmas parties.

“This, of course, comes with all the trimmings and cranberry sauce. Maltese also tend to look for the traditional oven-baked potatoes to accompany this dish”.

Asked whether any foreign cuisine is inching its way into the traditional Christmas lunch, he said that this is definitely so. “Nowadays buffets are opening up into ethnic cuisines. As an example, we have an Asian station. In fact, Asian cuisine has become very popular in recent years, with sushi as well as Chinese dishes being served”.

While buffets tend to offer a vast variety of finger foods for starters, those having a warm and cosy family stay-at-home meal also tend to have starters to share, he said speaking from his own experience. “There’s also the odd soup depending on the temperature of the day”.

If turkey isn’t available, the second favourite dish is oven-baked local pork loin, he said.

Vegetarians and vegans would have their own options for the festive season as well, he said, and with people becoming healthier, such options are being sought after. “A nice vegetarian quiche,  oven-baked vegetables, a vegetable Tarte Tatin perhaps”, he said. As for starters, salads and antipasti are good examples of such dishes.

Traditionally, more Maltese tend to stay at home for family meals on Christmas day, he said, but this year, many hotels were fully booked since the first week of Christmas. “I believe there has been a shift, and I believe this Christmas the tendency is for people to go out and celebrate family Christmas at hotels and restaurants”.


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