Store Locator

How to Enjoy International Dishes this Holiday Season

Get inspired during the holidays with fun and festive meals from around the world

An overhead view of a table that's set up for a holiday meal. There are eight people around the table. There is some green pine branches set on the table with candles nestled in between the branches. There are also some holiday crackers on the table. Two people sitting across from each other are each holding onto one end of a holiday cracker.

Whether your holidays are spent embracing the snow, lounging on a sandy beach or relaxing by a crackling fire from the comfort of home, find inspiration from around the world for your festive meals. Here are five delicious ways to spice up your menu.

Latkes from Israel

View of a table set up for a meal. There is a gold menorah in the background with candles lit. A person's hand is visible, holding up a plate of latkes and handing it to another person.

Oil-cooked foods honour the miracle of Hanukkah as it is said one small bottle of oil kept a menorah lit for eight days instead of just one day. Yiddish for pancakes, latkes are crispy, fried potato-and-onion patties, though some recipes also contain matzo. These savoury treats pair heavenly with cool toppings like applesauce, onions or sour cream.

Panettone from Italy

A golden yellow loaf of panettone is sitting on a clear glass cake stand with some cinnamon sticks and star anise on it. There are two lit red candles next to the cake stand.

The origin of this sweet bread dates back to the 19th century in Italy’s Lombardy region, near Milan. Made with candied fruit, butter, eggs and wheat flour—ingredients hard to come by at the time—panettone requires several days of preparation, so it’s a particularly special treat.

Pickled Herring from Sweden

A table is laid out with several small glass jars. Each one is filled with some pickled herring and onions.

The most important element of a Swedish julbord, or Christmas buffet, is pickled herring. The herring is first salted then pickled with water, vinegar, sugar and spices. A typical julbord has a variety of herring to offer, flavoured with different spices and sauces. Families often have their own unique pickled herring recipes passed down for generations.

Tamales from Costa Rica

Several people are sitting around a table. There is a person who is standing wearing an ivory blouse and a mustard yellow jacket. Next to that person is a woman seated, wearing a patterned shirt. She is holding a tamale wrapper in her hand.

While tamales are found all over Latin America, they’re especially revered during the holidays in Costa Rica. Family and friends will gather for a tamaleada—a party to prepare, cook and eat tamales. A savoury filling of meat, spices and vegetables is nestled into a corn flour dough then wrapped lovingly in a banana leaf and boiled. For a sweeter option, try a filling of pineapple, jam or dulce de leche.

Soba from Japan

Two women, one older and one younger, are standing side by side at a cutting board. The older woman is holding a shiny metal in her hand, slicing some dough into long strips.

Soba noodles made from buckwheat are traditionally served with a simple dashi broth and chopped green onions as part of a New Year’s Day feast in Japan. The long noodles are meant to symbolize longevity. As buckwheat noodles break off easily when bitten, they symbolize a clean break from any difficulties faced in the past year.

Image credit: SolStock.iStock, Drazen Zigic/iStock, funebre/iStock, luza studios/iStock, aldomurillo/iStock, yamasan/iStock

Plan Your Dream Trip

To plan your own culinary adventure or your next holiday, speak with an experienced CAA Travel Consultant by visiting CAA Travel.