This New Year, It's A Celebration of Food
The New Year is officially here and at Fine Taste Club, we are really excited for the months to come. 2018 was fantastic and 2019 will be just as great or better. As lovers of great food and great experiences, we are always searching for interesting food traditions from around the world to share with our customers. Since we’re still in January, we thought it would be fun to discover some unique New Year celebration customs that are different from our typical champagne and kiss at midnight. So let’s travel the globe and stop in a few places that welcomed 2019 in their own special way.
If you’re in Spain this year on December 31, make sure you have your grapes ready. Grapes you say? Yes, grapes. This particularly Spanish New Year’s Eve tradition requires that you ingest 12 grapes for every second the clock strikes after midnight. These 12 grapes represent the 12 months of the coming year and many believe they will ensure good luck. Who would risk not partaking? This tradition requires a little preparation as well. It’s not as easy as it sounds to gobble down 12 grapes in 12 seconds, so many Spaniards have them ready, some go so far as to peel them and seed them well before the race to swallow them begins. In order to ensure success, it might be a good idea to choose grapes that are on the small side!
Italy knows how to do food for any occasion, there’s no doubt about that. New Year’s Eve is no exception. There’s more to an Italian New Year’s celebration than a few grapes and a glass of champagne. They celebrate with a hearty lentil and sausage stew called cotechino con lenticchie. Both pork and lentils are symbols of good luck in Italy and this dish combination ensures all those who eat it will have a year of good fortune. If you find yourself in Italy for this wonderful celebration, you may hesitate to serve yourself a grown up portion of this heavy dish, especially at midnight. You can go easy on the pork, but remember, the more lentils you eat, the richer you’ll be when the following December feast rolls around.
Mexico also has an amazing tradition of wonderful food for special occasions (and daily life as well!). For New Year’s, they break out the amazing and versatile tamales. Mexican tamales can be savory or sweet with a base of corn dough stuffed with different kinds of meat, cheese, or during the holidays even raisins and coconut, all wrapped in a cornhusk or banana leaf. They have basic ingredients and are the ultimate comfort food. Tamales have a long history in Mexico, dating back thousands of years, and making them over the holidays is a labor of love for many families. The recipe consists of several steps, so more than one pair of hands pitching in to prepare the feast makes lighter work. It’s hard to imagine a more delicious way to welcome the New Year!
The American South
We’ve left the United States to discover the traditions of other countries, but we would be amiss to acknowledge that a glass of champagne and a kiss are not the only New Year’s traditions enjoyed by Americans. Made with rice, bacon, black-eyed peas and served with collard greens and corn bread, the holiday dish Hoppin’ John is a hearty meal served in cities all over the South on New Year’s Day. Like the other dishes in our survey, eating Hoppin’ John to welcome another year is meant to bring good luck. Key components of the dish, black-eyed peas, are included to represent coins. There are a few variations from city to city, but it isn’t Hoppin’ John unless it has pork, rice and black-eyed peas. Southern Living at its finest.
When we write about food on the Fine Taste Club blog, there are certain themes that weave through each country’s tradition. Food is always made with love and traditions are honored faithfully. Meals on special occasions are cherished times with family and friends. All over the world, food equals joy. Exploring food traditions is a constant reminder of why we started Fine Taste Club. So that our customers could enjoy the best traditional foods from around the world and share them with loved ones. We are looking forward to another year of amazing food!