Every country has its own customs when it comes to enjoying the winter holidays; in this post, we’d like to share the traditions of our beloved Ireland. During the holidays, work comes to a standstill and suddenly everyone has free time to enjoy with loved ones. After all, an Irish Christmas is all about family and friends. Christmas Day is reserved for visits with relatives, and perhaps the most important aspect, the Feast! In Ireland this is elaborate, time consuming and demanding of everyone involved – everything must be perfect! The day after is set aside for country walks and climbs to counteract the indulgence of the day before...

The preparation for the holidays begins in October with the creation of the Christmas cakes and puddings. This long time frame lets the flavours blend and gives the home a lovely aroma! The turkey or goose is then ordered, Granny’s stuffing recipe is found, and the countdown begins. The cooks at this time of year perform a ritual that has little to do with an ordinary, daily kitchen routine. The presentation - the linens, the candles, the holly, the polished silver- all elevate the day in the minds of the entire family.

However, that is only one day of a long, joyous holiday. After consuming turkey and mince pies, most people yearn for something simple and fresh, something lighter than the fare from the Christmas table. And, of course, this is the time when friends meet, swap stories and have dinner parties. To me, this is the time when imaginative cooking comes into its own. Shrimp and fish are the perfect antidotes to all those rich culinary delights, especially when combined with vegetables and rice. Salads of winter root vegetables come into their own, or basic omelettes filled with fresh, crisp ingredients! Most houses stock up for the holiday and there are usually ingredients galore to play with, so for many cooks, this is the time to be their most creative.The most important thing is to have fun and enjoy spending time with friends and family. Banish the wintry dark with good food, great company and an easy, imaginative approach to hospitality. This season is one of feasting and renewal, love every moment of it!

We at Nicholas Mosse are sending you warm wishes for the festive season! We’d also love to hear your own holiday traditions, leave us a comment below or share on our Twitter & Facebook pages.