In Poland the 24th of December is probably the most important day of Christmas. It is known as Wigilia (pronounced vee-GHEE-lee-uh). Everyone puts a lot of effort into the the preparation of the Christmas Eve dinner Kolacja wigilijna. There are traditionally 12 dishes served on the table (referring to the twelve apostles).
What can you find there?
It depends from the region, but definitely there will be no meat on the table. Christmas Eve dinner is all about fish, winter vegetables, and wild mushrooms. What’s more… Christmas Eve is often a ‘fasting day’ meaning that some people don’t eat anything until the first star is seen in the sky!
The dinner starts with a soup. It is usually barszcz – beetroot soup served with uszka (little dumplings with mushrooms) or krokiety (pancakes with mushrooms and cabbage, in breadcrumbs, fried on oil or butter) or paszteciki (little pasty with mushrooms and cabbage). Other options are fish soup or wild mushroom soup.
Carp is often the main dish of the meal. The fish can be bought alive or already prepared for cooking. Luckily, my mum always serves fried cod – I’m not too big fan of carp. Herrings are also very popular and usually are served in several ways: in oil, in cream, in jelly. My mum always prepares two herring salads, which are really tasty. Another big one for me is Greek style fish dish that actually has nothing to do with Greece. It is white fish that is fried and then with grated rooted vegetables like carrot and parsley and tomato concentrate.
Luckily for people who don’t like fish there are other specialties: bigos made of cabbage and dried plums, pierogi stuffed with wild mushroom or cabbage, cabbage cooked with peas.
And now my favourite 🙂 desserts ❤ The most popular are makowiec – a poppy seed roll made of sweet yeast bread, kutia – mixed dried fruits and nuts with wheat seeds, sernik cheesecake, piernik gingerbread and pierniczki gingerbread cookies.