Christmas Eve in Porto
22 Dec, 2016, By Manuel A.
The Christmas Eve is probably my favourite event of all the events in a year calendar. This is the time that never fails to bring up my best childhood memories – the aromas, flavours and feelings of my warm and cosy past.
The night of the 24th of December still bears the same unique aura as it did when I was a child. All the rooms of the house get filled with familiar faces (some which I haven’t seen for a while) and lots of warm and cosy aromas: liqueurs, chocolate, cinnamon, codfish, candlewax, cheese, …
Thankfully, gifts are but a small part in the Christmas frenzy at my place. The main event is the codfish dinner, carefully prepared during the afternoon. Like any other Portuguese person I eat codfish every other week, but there’s no doubt that these tender dishes never taste as exceptional as the one in this magical night. The cheerful and glittery aura floating around us seems to season it in a special and mytical way, turning a simple salted fish dish, unparalleled by none else.
For me, Christmas is a family celebration, and the bigger the family gets, the better the party. These are glorious festive days, but when there are little children running around, eating rabanadas (a cinnamon-Port wine flavoured Christmas delicacy, similar to a French toast, only better), and pudding with their fingers, and ravaging through wrapping paper, the night just doesn’t feel as right. I believe little children is where the vitality of Christmas lies, and that they portray the magic every family wishes for and expects to find in this blissful, holy night.
Merry Christmas everybody!