Victorian Christmas Foods

Christmas is a time that is awaited eagerly by people of all walks of life- worldwide. However, over the years, the ways people soak in the spirit of this auspicious occasion have changed. In this era of instant snacks and food delivery services, few have the time to prepare elaborate Christmas dishes. However, you may feel curious about traditional and delicious Christmas dishes that were in vogue during the Victorian era.

Below listed are some of the most popular and tastiest Christmas delicacies made in the Victorian age:

  • Mince pies

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No Christmas dinner in the bygone days could be complete without savoring the delicious mince pies. These pies were filled mostly with mutton and beef, but in some households, fish filling was also used. However, in a majority of houses, chopped sirloin steak was used to make the dish. To add sourness, lemon and orange juice was also used. For sweetness, sugar was not used. Instead, dried fruits and honey were used in cooking. Spices like saffron and ginger were used to create a fusion of flavors. In those days, Mince pies were eaten on all 12 days during Christmas season owing to a belief the next 12 months will bring good luck.

  • Plum pudding

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This is a dish which was a must have part of the Christmas dinner in Victorian era England. In fact, this was a quintessential dish at Christmas for centuries. A small amount of brandy was poured on the pudding just before serving. Usually, the Plum pudding was made weeks before Christmas. Some families used to bake a silver coin inside the pudding- which was deemed as a ritual leading to onset of wealth. Varieties of nuts, raisins, almonds and spices like nutmeg and cinnamon were used in the pudding to create a rich flavor.

  • Turkey roast

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This is one dish that continues to be as popular in Christmas dinner as it was during the Victorian age! Depending on the type of household, Turkey was served as entrée, either stuffed with meat or boiled with celery. The stuffing for the Christmas turkey in those days included chestnuts, dry fruits, sausage, oysters and fruits. It was served with regional fresh vegetables like potatoes, turnips, carrots and sweet potatoes.

  • Roasted goose

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Not everyone in Victorian era England had the fascination for tasting turkeys on Christmas. Roasted goose was also the centerpiece in dinner table on Christmas night in several households. In those days, goose clubs were quite popular in London as these let the families save money to buy a healthy Christmas goose. Just a few days before Christmas the meat markets in London were jam packed with geese and turkeys- mostly imported from France and Germany. To get what a traditional Christmas goose was like you should read, the Charles Dickens classic- “A Christmas Carol”. Sea salt and black pepper were used to cook and apple and shallots were also used in the preparations. For making the gravy, goose fat and body parts were used.

  • Christmas cake

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Can a Christmas dinner be complete without savoring on fruit enriched, spongy and moist cakes! The answer is clearly no. Back in the Victorian age, the Christmas menu would definitely include a cake. While different types of cakes with a variety of frostings would be made in those bygone days, a plum or fruit cake was most commonplace item on dinner tables on Christmas. The fruits would include chopped Prunes, chopped Walnuts, and sliced almonds. Brandy and Orange Zest were also used to add to the flavor.

  • Hot Gin punch

If wine is not your thing for Christmas, you may opt for the Hot Gin punch in Christmas night. A section of people, both from lower and upper crust of society in Victorian England used to do that. The concoction comprising of gin, lemon juice and zest, sherry and brown sugar tastes amazingly good.

  • Christmas spiced beef

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while a lot of Families in Victorian era England preferred having roasted goose and turkeys in Christmas, there were takers for animal meat too! Spiced beef was a popular side dish in Victorian Christmas. The addition of ingredients like allspice berry, black peppercorns, juniper berries works wonders. It was served usually with horseradish and pickled onions. It goes well if you do not love broth based dishes much.

  • Mulled wine

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After gorging on various types of meat and pies and puddings, the Victorians preferred quenching the thirst with their favorite Christmas drink-mulled wine. While its roots can be traced back to the middle ages- the drink reached the acme of popularity in the Victorian era. The kids were given a version sans any alcohol, which was called Negus. The blend of red wine, citrus and spices like ginger and cloves led to an irresistible flavor.

  • Figgy Pudding

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This is a tasty pudding that features in one of the most famous Christmas carols. Since it was made with ingredients that were not cheap. Most families in Victorian era England made it during festive seasons like Christmas.

  • Sugar plums

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While Victorians gorged on meats and alcoholic beverages in Christmas, they also had craving for candies and sweet side dishes. The Victorian sugarplum is actually preserved plum coated in sugar with a crisp outer layer. These were hung on the Christmas tree.

  • Nesselrode Pudding

This is a Victorian era pudding that was made as a substitute for typical Christmas pudding. The ingredients include chestnuts, lemon peel, single cream, dried cherries. It has a typical velvety look that will leave you enticed.

  • Victorian Wassail Punch

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This was a popular warming drink used a lot in Victorian era England. However, the drink was served mostly to the carol singers hired in wealthy households in the festive seasons. The various ingredients like cinnamon, lemon, orange and ginger lead to an awesome flavor. It also contains a small amount of brandy.

  • Bread sauce

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While most households in Victorian era England cooked, roasted goose or turkey for Christmas dinner, they also prepared soups as side dishes. The turkeys were mostly served at the Christmas dinner table with homemade bread sauce. It was made mostly with ingredients like peppercorns, butter, milk, breadcrumbs, grated nutmeg, garlic cloves, etc. It was made a couple of days in advance.

  • Furmety

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This is one of the Victorian Christmas recipes that are hard to locate nowadays. It is basically one kind of wheat porridge served with sweet dishes. However, it was also served with mutton or venison. It was made with raisins, almonds, cinnamon and saffron along with eggs.

  • Oyster Soup

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In many households in Victorian era England, Christmas Turkey roast was served with tasty osier sauce while roasted goose was served with apple sauce. The main ingredients of the oyster sauce were oysters, milk, pepper, salt and butter. Milk was not used in some cases as well.

Roasted Ham with stuffing

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The ham was boiled for three hours or so after which the skin was taken out. Another thirty minutes were kept for roasting in the oven and it was coated with pounded breadcrumbs. The stuffing was done by mixing grated ham, bread crumbs and minced onions with butter, pepper and salt. It was served with cranberry or oyster sauce.

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