Catalán Christmas – Traditional Christmas dishes

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Catalán Christmas dinner in Barcelona

As Christmas in Barcelona gets closer and closer, everyone is staring to think about what to eat during their Catalán Christmas and also Catalán families and housewives are trying to figure out which traditional Christmas dishes they want to cook up for Catalán Christmas Dinner in Barcelona.

Traditional Catalán food is very special and tasty all the way from tapas to paella to the delicious churros! Obviously there are traditional Christmas dishes in Catalunya as well, which are often served at Christmas time in Barcelona.

The traditional Catalán ‘Christmas dinner’ is usually served during lunchtime on the 25th of December, which distinctly differs from the rest of Spain, where they eat their Spanish Christmas dinner on the evening of the 24th of December. This is the same time when the infamous Caga Tió “poos” out presents to the all little children!

If you’ve already been to any of the Barcelona Christmas Markets you might also see huge ‘galets‘, which is part of traditional Catalán  Christmas  food. It’s a type of noodle which Cataláns normally eat at Christmas time with their popular Christmas dish Escudella i carn d’olla!

Escudella de carn d’olla

escudellaEscudella de carn d’olla or Escudella i carn d’olla is a typical Catalán Christmas dish. It is a slow cooked one-pot stew,  full of meat, vegetables and the traditional Christmas noodles Galets de Nadal, a very big, nicely shaped type of pasta.

Cataláns normally put various meats in the Escudella de carn d’olla: chicken (for Saint Peter), beef (for Saint Luke), lamb (for Saint John) and with pork (for Saint Anthony), along with a large pilota (meatball). Besides this selection of meat they put a huge amount of vegetables into the pot including cabbage, potatoes,  carrot, onion, leek, celery and chickpeas.

If it’s ready it can be served altogether as a meaty soup for Catalán Christmas dinner, or separately – they remove and keep warm the vegetables and  the meat as second plate, and eat the rest as a soup with noodles for the first course!

So this is the most typical traditional Catalán Christmas dinner, but other popular dishes are grilled prawns and stuffed turkey as part of the Christmas dinner in Barcelona.


As desert – which I must say is always very delicious in Catalunya – they traditionally serve a selection of sweets and cakes such as marzipan, neules, Christmas bread, ‘El Pa de Nadal‘ or turrón (torró in Catalán).


Turrón is really really popular and not only at Catalán Christmas.  You can buy it in every period of the year! This traditional Spanish sweet is a type of nougat in a shaped like a tablet, made of honey, sugar, egg white and a variety of nuts, especially almonds.

I highly suggest you find a shop or Christmas Market in Barcelona to buy and try some turrón, delicious!

We hope you enjoed this little selection of traditional Catalán Christmas food, if you have the opportunity try some of them, and let us know what you think!

Merry Christmas!

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Submitted on Friday, December 17th, 2010 at 3:48 pm

  • Melo

    You don’t distinguish from where are the dishes, Paella, from Valencia (and they will say that anything made in other place is not a real Paella). The “Tapas” can be from anywhere… except from Barcelona. Just go to Madrid, for example, the “Tapas” are free dishes served with the drinks (and is waaaaay cheaper than Barcelona). Churros catalan “Xurros” are… who knows, I heard than even the ancient egyptians ate them, and they usually are a breakfast… that you buy going home after a whole sleepless night, as a present for the ones who rested at home. Of course they could be bought in the afternoon or at nights, usually on fairs.

    And about christmas food, the resting meat from the “carn d’olla” is used to do “Canalons” in Boxing’s Day (Sant Esteve). The “Turrons” are mainly from Alicante/Alacant and there is another christmas desert “Mazapanes, polvorones, matecados, neules…”