1. Food

Spanish Christmas Menu - Menú de Noche Buena

A Classic Spanish Feast From Tapas to Cava

By

Lechazo (Cordero) Asado - Roast Suckling Lamb

Lechazo (Cordero) Asado - Roast Suckling Lamb

Lisa Sierra (c) 2010 Licensed to About.com Inc.
In Spanish, Christmas Eve is called "La Noche Buena," literally translated as "The Good Night." In Spain it is celebrated with a large family feast, which is eaten late in the evening and can last a couple hours. Some families attend midnight mass before or after, although many families are still finishing dinner around the table at midnight! In Spain, Christmas Eve is a time for celebrating in neighborhood bars and cafes, and around the table with family and friends. It is not a time for gift exchanges or Santa Claus. That must wait until January 6th, which is Epiphany, another religious holiday.

We have put together a typical Spanish Christmas menu for Christmas Eve dinner. It has several courses starting with some simple tapas or appetizers, first course, main course, and ending with dessert and coffee or after-dinner drinks. None of the recipes are terribly difficult to prepare, and you certainly do not have to use all of them. Pick and choose what you like to add some Spanish flavor to your Christmas table!

Tapas or Appetizers

Do you need more ideas for Spanish appetizers? Top Spanish Tapas, Recipes for the Most Popular Tapas in Spain has our top picks for Spanish tapas.

Primer Plato or First Course

This first course is just a "warm-up" for courses to come, so be sure to leave room for the next course. Choose one or more of the following dishes.

Plato Principal - Main Course

In Spain, the next course is called segundo plato, the "second" course. Beef, lamb, poultry or game is served with rice or potatoes for this filling course.

Postre - Dessert

After a brief pause to catch your breath and clear the table, dinner continues with dessert or postre. At Christmas time that means plates of delicious Spanish treats like:

Want more Spanish treats? Spanish Christmas Sweets!

Spanish Cava, Brandy and More

No Spanish Christmas would be complete without several toasts and a few glasses of cava, Spanish sparkling wine. Spanish cava is generally good quality and priced right.

After the dinner dishes are cleared, a hot cup of espresso coffee and/or a small glass of Spanish sherry brandy like Cardenal Mendoza or Lepanto brands, anise liqueur or Licor 43 can be raised. Besides, you need something to wash all those cookies down!

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.