In The Diary: The Eat and Drink Festival 2017

The Eat and Drink Festival 2017 comes to London Olympia from 22 to 26 November, celebrating the very best in festive fare as Britain heads towards the December merriments. 

While 76% of UK households tuck into a large meal of turkey with all the trimmings* on 25 December, Britain’s multi-cultural community celebrates both Christmas and the holiday season with different meats, dishes and delicacies from across the globe. 

At the Eat and Drink Festival, Norwegian-chef Martina Schoning cooks up a homeland delicacy of roasted reindeer, but reindeer is not the only meat on the Christmas table in Norway, as families often enjoy options such as pork chops, sausages and lamb. Those located in the coastal regions tend to opt for fish dishes such as cod or haddock.

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A Swedish Christmas dinner is usually presented as a julbord: a festive version of the much-loved Swedish dinner option, Smörgåsbord. The buffet-style feast frequently includes breads, broth, a variety of fish such as salmon, eel and herring, meatballs, pork ribs, baked ham, sausages, potatoes, cheeses and salad. 

While Germans tend to opt for wild boar or venison as the centrepiece for their festive meal, a traditional Jamaican Christmas includes a recipe of rice, gugno peas, chicken, ox tail and curried goat.

When celebrating the festive season in the Czech Republic, most enjoy a dinner of fish soup, salads, eggs and carp. Many believe in the superstition that the number of people around the table must be even, as it’s believed the odd one out will die next year!

The traditional Polish holiday supper consists of 12 non-meat dishes, one for each month of the year. Among the dishes, fish such as pike, herring and carp tend to feature. Other typical Polish dishes include fish soup, sauerkraut with wild mushrooms or peas, and Polish dumplings with numerous fillings.

Many Ukrainian families feast on the traditional supper, Sviata Vechera, which consists of 12 dishes, each representing the 12 apostles. The meatless meal consists primarily of fish, as meat, animal fat, milk and milk products are forbidden. 


Known for their good food, Italian Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve often lasts for more than four hours with families traditionally enjoying a meal of seven or more courses. These include antipasti, pasta and a roast meal, followed by two salads, two sweet puddings, cheese, fruit, brandy and chocolate.

Bringing together an array of celebrities, the festival’s impressive line-up sees names from a variety of international backgrounds such as Italian-chef Gino D’Acampo, the UK’s own Gregg Wallace, Norwegian-chef Martina Schoning and Australian-native Bonny Porter take to the stage to share more about their traditional Christmas feasts.

Visitors can enjoy a taste of Christmas from around the world as well as sample and shop for fresh produce and handmade products such as from balsamic vinegars, oils and pastries and stock up on festive treats including brownies, cakes and puddings.

Tickets also give access to the Ideal Home Show at Christmas, which runs alongside the foodie event as it returns to Olympia for its seventh consecutive year. 

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Tickets are available now from or by phone on 0844 209 7330.