Global Food Traditions to Borrow for Your New Year’s Eve Menu

December 24, 2016

Global Food Traditions to Borrow for Your New Year’s Eve Menu

You could jump off chairs, break plates, and burn effigies to ring in 2017. Or you could eat! Use these food traditions from around the world to inspire your New Year’s Eve dinner menu.

Cuba and Austria

People serve roast suckling pig as a symbol of moving forward—yes, pigs are synonymous with progress.

Borrow it: Our Porchetta Style Pork Loin makes a standout main dish.


Revelers congregate to pass bottles of cava and then quickly gobble 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight. Each grape symbolizes a month of the new year.

Borrow it: Serve grapes on skewers as a pretty garnish for champagne. Make sure you have enough glasses to go around.


It’s customary for the Japanese to eat toshikoshi soba noodles, a traditional buckwheat noodle soup served on New Year’s Eve to symbolize transitioning into the new year.

Borrow it: Noodles also signify longevity—the longer the better. This soba noodle dish is a tasty party appetizer: Soba Noodle Salad with Edamame and Peanuts.

Italy and Brazil

Folks eat lentils, which represent wealth and prosperity (they do look like tiny coins!).

Borrow it: Three words, Red Lentil Daal, for an additional hit of global influence.

Sweden, Norway & Greece

Several cultures hide a treat inside desserts. The guest who finds it is guaranteed prosperity and good health for the year. In Sweden and Norway they hide almonds inside rice pudding. In Greece, they bake coins into sweet bread.

Borrow it: Here’s an American dessert within a dessert: Ice Cream Sandwich Cake With Salted Caramel Sauce.


Since Medieval times, the English have served spiced mulled wine or “wassail” during festive celebrations, like New Year’s.

Borrow it: This Mulled Glogg recipe is the closest thing to visiting an English pub. Serve it in authentic glasses.


In many cultures, ring-shaped treats represent the year coming full circle, and the promise of a good future. In Holland, they eat pastries called ollie bollen, which are like puffy donuts filled with apples and raisins.

Borrow it: Send your guests home with a pretty little package of homemade Mini Apple Cinnamon Donuts With Cider Glaze to enjoy on the first of the year.


You’ve probably heard that greens represent money. So it’s typical to eat them on New Year’s. But the Germans eat sauerkraut.

Borrow it: Try Katie’s German Cole Slaw recipe for New Year’s Eve, the Super Bowl, and summer barbecues. Prost!

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