Christmas traditions in Spain reflect the country's culture. Instead of Santa Claus, Spanish children are visited by the three wise men--Gaspar, Melchior and Balthasar--on Jan. 6. Children leave straw or barley in their shoes for the wise men's camels before they go to bed Jan. 5. In exchange, the wise men leave presents. Spanish Christmas foods include seafood and traditional desserts and candies. This holiday, which is celebrated from December into January, is a time for feasting and dancing.
Traditional Spanish Christmas meals often include a seafood dish. Such dishes can include prawns served with garlic mayonnaise, which are simple to prepare. Mix garlic and mayonnaise and grill the prawns. Serve fried sea bass with fresh cream. Prepare the sea bass on the stove top. Flavor it with butter, olive oil, pepper, salt and shallots. Spanish seafood dishes also include smoked salmon. Flavor the salmon with dill and lemon juice. Serve this dish with white asparagus.
Turrón is a nougat candy with a rich history. This candy is an integral part of Christmas for Spaniards. The first recorded recipe for turrón dates back to a ladies' manual from the 16th century. The Moors introduced the candy to Jijona, a small town north of Alicante, according to DonQuijote.org. The original turrón recipe includes egg whites, honey, sugar, lemon and ground almond. The ingredients are heated and mixed slowly to achieve a specific consistency, which is cooled and cut into pieces. "The nougat is available in two trademark styles: Jijona's is soft, while Alicante's is hard and crunchy," according to DonQuijote.org. Turrón variations are made with such ingredients as nuts, chocolate, honey, dried fruit, coconut and liqueurs.
A Spanish Christmas would not be complete without roscón de los reyes, or king cake. This dessert often is served on Three Kings Day, which is celebrated Jan. 6. The cake is a yeast-based brioche made in the shape of a ring and filled with dried nuts and fruits. This cake is named after Three Kings Day, which honors the three wise men who visited Jesus. A coin, ring or trinket is placed in the cake. The person who receives the piece of cake containing the toy gets to be king--or queen--for the day. This cake is made with such basic ingredients as flour, sugar, butter, milk, lemon and salt. The cake "is decorated with candied fruits, symbolic of the emeralds and rubies that adorned the robes of the three kings," according to Escuelai.com.