By Lisa on Dec 26, 2012 with Comments 4
Merry Christmas to all followers, friends and occasional droppers-by.
I am spending my Christmas in Mallorca with family this year.
It is 20 degrees, the sun is out, nobody has to work and there is plenty of roast pig after the recent matanzas. The children are all excitedly running around preparing for the arrival of the 3 kings in two weeks time and everybody is in high spirits.
Christmas Eve in Mallorca
Christmas Eve is the main meal at dinner time and here it is typical to eat fish and seafood. The chefs of the household spend all day between the supermarket and the kitchen preparing this great feast for the family for the evening and everyone else spends the day getting in their way. Or, in my case, picking family up from the airport.
My parents are in Mallorca for just four days over Christmas and we are letting my Mallorcan boyfriend’s family play host so that we Brits get to enjoy a different culture’s Christmas celebration.
At 21:30 sharp dinner begins at the home of our hosts, my boyfriend’s parents’. (By “sharp”, I mean give or take an hour, this being Spain and therefore the land of mañana mañana)
My mum and I are awkward non-seafood-eaters so my boyfriend and mother-in-law (the chefs) have to prepare us some delicious chicken kebabs while everyone else is slurping on oysters and other disgusting things in shells which they insist are the highlight of Christmas celebrations.
My boyfriend is a great kitchen creator and was in charge of the starters. He had prepared all kinds of wonderful foams and cocktails and strange surprises in tiny pots. My mother-in-law was in charge of the traditional stuff and everyone was delighted with clams, prawns, squid and razor-clams. Everyone except my mum and I, of course. We were delighted with a delicious fillet of John Dory that had been bought especially for us!
There were too many bottles of cava consumed to count and everyone was merry at the end of the dinner. After Christmas Eve dinner in Spain, it is time to go and toast your neighbours. So we all trouped to next door’s house where we had a glass of cava and a few chocolates. Then we popped in to the next house for a glass of cava and some cake… you can see where this is going, right. We made it to the end of the street and then we could eat and drink no more so it was time to go home.
Christmas Day in Mallorca
The next day we spent all morning exchanging presents. This is only because we are English though. Traditionally the Mallorcan people do not give presents on Christmas Day, but rather they wait for the three kings to arrive on the island by boat on the 5th January bearing gifts. However, my parents will have left by then so we had to do this the English way and we spend the morning delighting over gift-wrapped holidays, trips, holiday journals, leather passport holders, photography books and lots more fantastic trip-enhancing goodies.
Then it was time to go to Uncle Jaime’s house.
Uncle Jaime was hosting the Christmas lunch this year in his garage. Yes, garage. You see, despite the Mallorcan houses being huge, the only space where a long table set for 40-plus shouting and chattering excitable Mallorcan people will fit comfortably is in the vast garage under the house. I know it sounds bizarre but everybody uses the garage for big family dinners and when the house is built, part of the specification is always that the garage has a sink with running water, plenty of work surfaces like in a kitchen, a fridge and sometimes even an oven.
All members of the family turn up with something or other: bottles of cava, plastic cups, trays of sizzling lechona… Or if you are my parents, spending their first Christmas in Mallorca, 40 party-size sausage rolls (which went down very well), a 3 litre flask of mulled wine (which had a mixed response but which everyone certainly thought novel) and a Christmas cake (which went down like a lead balloon).
Lunch was scheduled for 2.30pm, so at 2.40pm we were the first people there with the whole garage to ourselves!
People started arriving at about 3 o’clock and there was a lot of greeting, shouting, kissing on both cheeks and jockeying for a place at the table. As each family arrived the decibels increased slightly and once everyone was there the din was something that could only be produced in Mallorca.
The traditional Christmas feast in Mallorca is sopas rellenas which is broth with huge pasta shells stuffed with minced meat in it, followed by lechona which is roast suckling pig and when it’s cooked right it is absolutely delicious.
All this is accompanied by plenty of cava and as the bottles are reduced the noise levels increase. People on opposite ends of the table start to think it is possible to converse with each other over the heads of 40 other people.
Dessert is a huge array of turron; a great Mallorcan treat of nougat and chocolate. Accompanied by more cava, of course.
After lunch, the garage is deftly stripped of its festive tables, chairs and adornments and is turned back into a garage and everyone says their goodbyes and wishes each other molts d’anys (many years) and returns to their respective home.
Then it was time to go visit granny. At granny’s house there is more cava and more turron. Everyone manages to wolf a little down while they chat.
The day finishes with an early night and big plans of doing something active the following day, as well as vows to stop drinking cava and stop eating turron!
For more Christmas escapades click here.
About the Author: Lisa, born and grew up in England, live in Mallorca, Spain... Have visited more than 20 countries, have twice as many to yet visit, love sharing experiences....