Christmas turkey shortage UK: The alternative meats eaten for the festive meal in other countries

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As Brits worry about a potential turkey shortage for Christmas dinner, now might be a good time to see how the rest of the world celebrate the seasonal meal.

Will it really be Christmas without the traditional festive turkey and all the trimmings for some UK households? That’s the concern many consumers are having in the lead up to Christmas Day 2022 with recent news there may be a turkey shortage closer to the big day, despite some farmers claiming the contrary.

The recent spate of avian flu cases have left some consumers worried they may be without the dinner table’s festive centrepiece this year, despite other options including turkey crowns becoming readily available. But what if disaster strikes and there are no turkeys left? Could there be other options to avoid running around like a headless… turkey?

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A study by London based alcohol company Drinks House 247 has looked to put people’s minds at ease with a list of alternative Christmas dinners from around the world revealing how different cultures celebrate the big day without the need for the big bird.

From how our neighbours in Europe eat during Christmas Day through to the finer cuisines of Brazil and India, Drink House 247 have compiled their list of alternative Christmas dinners with an international flair. So if turkey isn’t on the menu, how about a seafood dish or the traditional Icelandic ptarmigan?

So rather than letting a case of “turkey terror” ruin your 2022 Christmas dinner, perhaps try one of these alternatives from around the world this year instead.

What do other countries eat for Christmas dinner?

Germany - Weihnachtsdinner

Frohe Weihnachten from Germany, where the prevalent meats on offer during Christmas dinner are duck, goose or rabbit, accompanied by the traditional apple and sausage stuffing with red cabbage. The entire meal is also tied together with potato dumplings, known in Germany as kartoffelknödel.

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Iceland - Jólakvöldverður

The traditional bird for Christmas dinner in Iceland is the ptarmigan; a medium sized game bird that is part of the grouse family and the official game bird of both Newfoundland and Labrador, Gifu, Nagano and Toyama Prefectures. Should the bird not be available, Icelanders are happy to have cooked ham or smoked lamb along with peas, corn and cabbage as the main vegetables on offer. Just remember to wish your guests “Gleðileg jól” - Icelandic for Merry Christmas.

Spain - Cena Navideña

Feliz Navidad - the Spanish phrase wishing everyone a Merry Christmas so popular they wrote a song based around it. Spanish guests can enjoy a Christmas dinner made up of a variety of seafood. Lobster and prawns are usually served up on the big day in the form of a stew or in a soup.

México - Cena de Navidad

It’s a ¡Feliz Navidad! from Mexico also, with Christmas guests in the country likely to expect meats such as beef and pork used to create meals such as tamales or pozole. Pozole is a traditional stew made from pork and garnished with shredded lettuce or cabbage, chile peppers, onion, garlic, radishes, avocado, salsa or limes

Brazil - Jantar de Natal

As Brazillians wish each other Feliz Natal on Christmas Day, cooks in the kitchen will be focusing on dishes not too dissimilar from what is eaten on Christmas Day in the UK. With rich, delicious ham or roasted pork on offer, Brazillians prefer to eat their Christmas meat with white rice for a heartier meal in South America.

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India - क्रिसमस रात्रिभोज (Krisamas Raatribhoj)

Although christians make up only five percent of the religious population in India, Christmas is still seen as an important holiday in the country. Through its global significance, Indian Christmas dinners usually consist of roast duck, beef and stuffed chicken along with bell peppers, onions and tomatoes as vegetable accompaniments.

France - Dîner de Noêl

Over the channel, the French take on Christmas dinner has a lot more of a focus on seafood rather than poultry or game. Many Christmas meals in the country consist of smoked salmon and oysters if the “dinde” (turkey) is unavailable, with sides consisting of chestnuts, roast potatoes and sometimes cooked apples.

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