Peter Olsacher, Bahama Breeze Executive Chef,
said families often enjoy a festive dinner of stuffed goose or pork roast in his Austrian homeland on Christmas, which is a strictly religious holiday celebrated on Dec. 24, after decorating the tree with real clip-on candles. Goose is traditional, he said, but “kind of fatty and not the most delicious bird” so pork has become a popular alternative.
The meat is accompanied with mashed potatoes, vegetables and salad. Desserts include cakes, tarts and Reindling,
a yeast-based cake baked with cinnamon and raisins. After dinner, everyone opens presents and goes to midnight Mass.
Santa (known as St. Nicholas) makes no appearance at Christmas, but he has his own holiday in early December. On St. Nicholas Day, children leave their shoes outside, and if they have been nice, he fills them with small gifts and sacks of sweets such as dates, chestnuts and apples. If they have been naughty, they may be visited by St. Nick’s devilish counterpart, Krampus
Chef Peter said Austria’s traditional holiday drink is Glühwein,
a mulled wine made with white or rosé wine, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and lemon and orange rind. “We drink it warm because it’s cold outside, and it gives you a nice, warm belly.
“And of course we always finish everything with a shot of schnapps ‘to settle the stomach,’ as my mom used to say,’ ” he said with a chuckle.