Christmas (yummy) terminology

    Décembre 27, 2017

So, Christmas is almost here! This is why we want to introduce you to some international dishes prepared during this special period of the year. We want to present you some of the main dishes and drinks that you can find in some of the main European countries. Do you know where to eat a great barszcz or where to drink some tasty glögg? Let’s discover it with us!

Let’s start our menu with a tasty Polish soup called barszcz. We can it barszcz in a soup bowl or – specially at dinner parties – as a hot beverage in a twin-handled cup, with a big croquette or with uszka, also known as “little ears” because of their shape, which are small dumplings (a small version of pierogi). This last version is one of the main dishes for Christmas Eve in Poland. The picture below shows traditional Polish barszcz.

But if we start traveling (not only in Europe but also in asia) we will find other versions of this yummy soup such as:

Russiaборщ (boršč)
Romaniaborș / ciorbă
Moldaviaborș / ciorbă
Belarusборшч (borscht)
Israelבאָרשט (borsht)
Armeniaբորշչ (borscht)
China罗宋汤 (luó sòng tāng)

If outside is freezing and you are planning to stay at home, we suggest you to drink some hot glögg! It is a tasty spiced red wine with some raisins and almonds that you can drinnk in Sweden. The picture below shows traditional Swedish glögg.

If you travel to Poland you can find some Grzaniec Galicyjski or grzane piwoGrzaniec Galicyjski is a traditional Polish mulled wine with some sugar and spices. Grzane piwo is made in the same way but you it’s a hot pint (not a wine) with mulling spices, cinnamon, ginger and other Polish secret specialities. You can find hot wine also in other European countries where it is called as follows:

Czech Republicsvařené víno
Romaniavin fiert
Hungaryforralt bor
Croatiakuhano vino
Francevin chaud
Bulgariaреяно вино (greyano vino)
Serbiakuvano vino

But if you are a little hungry and you are thinking to eat something sweet and very special for this Christmas time you should try some Pierniki Toruńskie. It is a traditional old Polish gingerbread produced since the 12th century in Toruń – the city of Mikołaj Kopernik (Nicolaus Copernicus). It is a mixture of gingerbread spices, honey, lard, sugar, eggs and some flour. It should be cooked in advance for its special gingerbread taste some days before Christmas Eve. This sweet remains fresh for many days and it can be prepared with several versions, one of the most common is with some plum preserves called powidła. Pierniki can also decorate the Christmas tree. The picture below shows traditional Polish pierniki.

Two centuries later we start finding pierniki also in Germany where they are called Lebkuchen. This kind of sweet is prepared with some other ingredients such as coriander, cloves, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts or even candied fruits. If you continue traveling accross Europe you will find several versions of this traditional sweet:

Belgiumpeperkoek / kruidkoek
Francepain d’épices
Romaniaturtă dulce
Czech Republicperníčky
Great Britaingingerbread

How about your country and your Christmas traditions? Do you prepare something traditional only for these days? How it is called and how do you prepare it?

Feel free to comment below, share you tasty specialities and become a foodie translator! Merry Christmas and cheers!


  • JECZMYK, O. (2016). Terminology Coordination Unit. I·ATE: Barszcz, saltibarsciai , 罗宋汤 or борщ? What do you prefer?. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Dec. 2017].
  • JECZMYK, O. (2016). Terminology Coordination Unit. I·ATE: pierniki, lebkuchen and some Christmas gingerbread to celebrate! [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Dec. 2017].
  • JECZMYK, O. (2016). Terminology Coordination Unit. I·ATE: Glühwein, grzaniec and glögg, some drinks for Christmas time [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Dec. 2017].


Olga Jeczmyk

Translator-Interpreter, Social Media Queen, Marketer & PhD survivor


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