Typical Christmas Food of Puerto Rico

Typical Christmas Food of Puerto Rico

        I have been in the United States for a few years and one way to make Christmas more enjoyable being so far from home is to celebrate the holidays with the delicious Puerto Rican flavor.  Puerto Rican gastronomy comes from the mixture of Taíno, Spanish and African culinary traditions shared for years.  Here I share a classic menu that you can find at any Puerto Rican Christmas party.

Christmas Appetizers

        At Christmas parties you can find different entrées to snack on, including guava paste, cheese, sausage, fried foods, such as wafers or stuffed pastries or cornmeal fritters, and party sandwiches. The party sandwiches are made of a filling of mashed ham, cheese and red peppers known as mix, which is spread between two slices of white bread cut into squares or triangles.

Christmas Main Course

     The classic Christmas dish consists of rice with pigeon peas, roast pork a la vara and stuffed pasteles.  The pasteles are a banana-based dough or other stuffed viandas, usually stewed meat, wrapped in a banana leaf.  Pasteles are similar to tamales, which have a corn-based dough.  Among the companions that you will find in the festivities may include macaroni or potato salad, pickled green bananas or blood sausage, a sausage stuffed with rice and blood.

Christmas desserts

To close the pleasant Christmas dinner with a flourish, you cannot miss the dessert(s).  The typical Christmas dessert is usually cheese flan, coconut rice pudding or Puerto Rican trembleque, a coconut and cinnamon-based wobbly pudding.  Finally, for those who are lovers of cordial drinks, there's the coquito, a creamy coconut, cinnamon and rum drink, prepared especially for the holidays. The coquito is often compared to the American drink, eggnog, but let me tell you it's way better.  These desserts are served very cold to combat the heat and usually don't last long because they are delicious.

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