Irish Christmas food is one of the best parts of Christmas in Ireland

But what traditional Irish Christmas food is unique to the Emerald Isle?

One of the great joys of Christmas is the abundance of food, the special things made only at this very special time of year. And the Irish are no exception. We all look forward to the big Christmas feast. An integral part of Irish Christmas traditions is the food.

Like ours, Irish Christmas dinners usually include turkey or ham, stuffing, cranberry sauce, potatoes, etc. Then there are some treats that are uniquely Irish Christmas food.

If you want to bring a little traditional Irish Christmas food to your table this year, read on to find out what to have for an Irish Christmas dinner, special dishes made especially for this time of year to share with visiting friends and travelers...

Many Irish homes have the same main entrees we do...baked ham, roast turkey, or roast beef. But one entree you'll find on many Irish tables at Christmas that you don't find in America very often is the Christmas Goose.

Another traditional Irish Christmas dish uncommon in America is spiced beef. The beef is spiced over a couple of weeks, then cooked and pressed before serving hot or cold.

A bounty of holiday side dishes fills the table as well stuffing, cranberry sauce, and carrots. But as with most meals year-round in Ireland, they have various potato dishes on the table...roasted, mashed, baked, boiled, you name it.

Irish Christmas food doesn't leave out the "sweets". Traditional Irish Christmas desserts include mince pies, Christmas Cake, and Christmas puddings with brandy or rum sauce or perhaps brandy butter and cream.

Of course the bounty of Irish Christmas food would not be complete without Irish soda bread to pass around.

Christmas Eve, after the evening meal, the table is set once again in a very special way...bread filled with raisins and caraway seeds and a pitcher of milk are set out, a large glowing candle is placed in the window, and the door is left unlocked. This is another gesture of hospitality signaling Mary and Joseph that this home offers rest and restoration.

Not only is this ritual a symbolic way to extend hospitality to that ancient Holy family, it also extends the hand of hospitality to any travelers seeking food and shelter from the cold, especially Santa Claus. Times have changed in Ireland, as they have everywhere. Nowadays, many forego the bread and milk and instead leave out leave mince pie and a bottle of Guinness for Santa.

Any traditional Irish recipe will bring the taste of Ireland into your home for the holidays. Turn to our easy Irish recipes for ideas.

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