Despite Christmas being unofficially recognised as the season of gastronomic overindulgence, hedonistic Spaniards are actually far healthier during this period than the reputation that precedes them.
According to a report by the country’s Agriculture, Fishing and Food Ministry, the food product Spanish people eat the most during La Navidad (Christmas) is a fruit.
Each Spaniard ate an average 1kilo of tangerines in December, far more than any other drink or food product.
Not bad going considering it’s not even traditional in Spain to hang up a Christmas stocking, let alone stick an orange in a sock.
Next in line were two Spanish Christmas classics: Denominación de Origen (certificate of origin) wines – 650 centilitres consumed on average per person – and prawns/langoustine, 490 grammes per capita.
Langostinos. Photo: Emilio García/Flickr
But in fourth place on Spain’s Christmas food list is another fruit: the pineapple, showing that Spaniards’ love of fresh green produce – one of the main reasons they’re set to have the longest life expectancy in the world by 2040- is no coincidence.
Lamb was the fifth most eaten food product in Spain during the 2017 Christmas period, followed by Catalan sparkling wine Cava and other bubblies.
Source: El Mundo
Then come the traditional Christmas sweets turrón (nougat made with honey, sugar, egg white and nuts) in seventh and polvorones/mantecados (a form of dry, crumbly shortbread) in ninth, illustrating how Spaniards don’t have as much of a Christmassy sweet tooth as other European nations, especially when it comes to chocolaty treats.
Turrón. Photo: AFP
What is surprising by Spanish standards is that the quintessential cold meats assortments don’t dominate the tables. Ibérico ham, better in quality than jamón serrano, is the first embutido on the list. Jamón Ibérico prices have shot up by 45 percent in the last five years in Spain, which might explain its lowly 13th position on the list, coupled with a common hike in prices during Christmas.
Photo: Pablo BM/Flickr
Other foods that Spanish consume a fair amount of during Christmas include foie gras and pates, smoked salmon, clams and cockels, frozen octopus and cabrito goat.
Other alcoholic drinks that made it onto the list include gin, brandy and rum.