Typical Catalan Christmas Foods: From Canalons to Torró

This blog post was originally posted on December 15, 2014 and was updated on November 8, 2017 and November 15, 2022.

The best part about the holiday season is all the delicious foods to go along with it that are only eaten at that time of year and of course, there is no shortage of seasonal treats to be found in Catalan Christmas food either.

Typical Catalan Christmas food is an absolute treat. The savory dishes are rich and hearty, and the sweet are mouth-watering and decadent. In celebration of our favorite Catalan Christmas food, here are the most typical foods to be found! Furthermore, make sure to try at least a bit of turró this holiday season!

Champagne being poured from a bottle into three flutes held in people's hands.
Don’t forget to break out the cava to pair with these delicious foods! Photo credit: cottonbro

Canalons

There’s usually quite a bit of leftover meat after the Christmas feast, so tradition has it that on the 26th of December (also a holiday in Catalonia – Sant Esteve) you make cannelloni. Thick pasta is stuffed with meat, chicken and pork, bechamel sauce, and melted cheese. This stuff is incredible and not to be missed at Christmas time – or any time, for that matter. This is without a doubt our favorite Catalan Christmas food!

Plated cannelloni with roasted vegetables
Canalons – particularly the kind blanketed in creamy bechemel sauce – is one of our favorite Catalan Christmas foods. Photo credit: Lou Stejskal

Rostit de Nadal

Another dish of the typical Christmas foods of Catalonia is the rostit de Nadal, or a Christmas roast. The traditional dish is either anec or pollastre farcit amb prunes i pinyons, or roasted duck or chicken with prunes and pine nuts. Between the fruits and nuts and a touch of cinnamon, this dish is reminiscent of Spain’s moorish past.

Escudella i Carn d’Olla

This traditional soup is the first thing that comes to mind when Catalans think of holiday meals. It consists of a piping hot broth with galets. We then throw in enormous macaroni-type noodles, as well as a heaping load of meat and vegetables. If you’re curious, the dish does contain chicken, beef and pork. Not to mention, also a pilota, an egg-shaped meatball that can vary in size.

It can be served one of two ways. Primarily as a two-course meal with the meat and vegetables followed by the broth. Alternatively, it can also be served all at once. This is how most Catalan families eat it on Christmas day.

Escudella holiday catalan dish soup broth noodles

You’ll find escudella at many a family gathering this holiday season. Photo credit: malditofriki

Torró

Throughout Spain, the most widely known Christmas sweet is the turrón, or torró as we call it in Catalan. This is a nougat bar made of honey, egg whites, sugar and almonds, and you will see it everywhere throughout the holiday season (and in some cases, all year-round!). There are plenty of varieties to choose from, including xocolata and the regional version of crema catalana, a delicious Catalan custard dessert.

Pieces of Spanish Christmas candy on a white plate beside several small glasses of white wineA smattering of different turrón flavors is perfect for a holiday party. 

Neules

Rolled wafer cookies are another big part of Christmas time in Barcelona. They usually come after a big meal, with a glass of cava, and are used to dip in the cava. Crunchy and with a hint of lemon, these cylindrical wafers were supposedly invented by a nun who was interrupted while making communion crackers. In fact, there are so many typical Catalan Christmas sweets, that the list is endless!

Neules, thin wafers eaten as dessert in Catalonia
Delicate, crunchy neules make a perfect addition to any Catalan dessert spread. Photo credit: Emi Yañez

Cava

Speaking of cava, this local drink is often present at the holiday table. While you can find this year-round in restaurants and homes, this bubbly drink is the star of festivies such as weddings, birthdays and New Years. Make sure to read all about this sparkling Catalan wine in our article on cava.

Glasses of white wine lined up on a bar.
Don’t forget the cava!

Want to know more about traditional Catalan food? Join our lovely guide Raquel as she visits one of our favorite authentic restaurants in the beautiful neighborhood of Gracia.

3 Comment

  1. Claire P says
    December 2, 2017 at 8:27 am

    Great pictures! These are so mouth-watering. I’m just in tempt to make it and try these all.

  2. Leigh Rose says
    May 5, 2021 at 9:05 pm

    Cool. Love it!

    1. Devour Tours says
      May 10, 2021 at 8:38 am

      Thanks for reading, Leigh!

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