Christmas dishes in Brazil are influenced by European, African and Native American cuisine. A traditional dinner consists of several dishes and courses, starting with codfish, including salads and turkey and finishing with several desserts.
Codfish and a Christmas turkey are the main dishes of the Christmas dinner. The turkey is served with white rice flavored with walnuts. Potato salad with apples and raisins, called Maionese, is one side dish. Another side dish is Farofa, or fried manioc. Tropical fruits, particularly bananas, watermelon and pineapple, decorate the table.
Christmas dinner in Brazil features many options for dessert. An especial favorite during the holidays is Rabanada, which is a type of French toast. Bread is soaked in custard and lightly fried. It is served with cinnamon sugar. Rabanada is derived from a 15th-century dish that was supposed to serve as a recovery from childbirth. Passionfruit mousse, Panetone -- a sweet cake originating in Italy -- and Pave, or chocolate cake, are also traditional Brazilian desserts at Christmastime.
Christmas comes during the Brazilian summer, which is very hot. Therefore, traditional drinks for Christmas are typically refreshing. Beer is a common drink, as are fresh fruit juices. The traditional Brazilian alcoholic drink, Caipirinha, is a favorite at Christmas. Caipirinha is made with sugar cane liquor, sugar and lime.