Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Portuguese Christmas Traditions I

Bolo-Rei , or King Cake, is a Portuguese seasonal specialty. The traditional Christmas bread of the nation, Bolo-Rei is a fruitcake shaped in a ring to symbolize the crowns of the Magi. In the cake there are two surprises: one is a little present like a fake ring, or a little doll, or a medal. The other is not as welcomed. There is a raw broad bean. Whoever finds the charm must buy next year's Bolo-Rei and share it with all those present when the original charm was discovered.

Even though it is said in Portugal that there are 365 recipes for cod (one for each day of the year), for Christmas Eve the tradition is to serve simple boiled cod. From the northern part of the country to the south, even among non-Catholic families, you will find cod accompanied by potatoes and cabbage and sometimes chickpeas.

Another traditional sweets are Filhoses, Sonhos (dreams) that consist in diferent kinds of fried dought, some of them filled with sweet potato or sweet chickpea home made filling, and sprinkled with sugar and cinamom.

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