November 11, 2021 | Ernesto M. Becerra
At TerraMar Imports, we have an exemplary team with diverse backgrounds truly representative of the cultural melting pot that is America, which is why we have decided to share our holiday traditions! As an international food company, our goal is to match high quality products to a diverse number of palates, so our team’s holiday traditions extend from Venezuelan feasts to traditional American meals. Learn more about the international holiday traditions below:
My favorite holiday food is the ensalada de gallina, otherwise known as the Venezuelan version of a potato chicken salad that is usually made in the holidays. The ensalada de gallina is a creamy protein salad that can be served as a side dish or enjoyed by itself with a loaf of bread. This salad is reminiscent of the famous Russian salad, also known as olivier salad, named after the Franco-Belgian chef who created it. The ensalada de gallina is one of the dishes that cannot be missed in my home to celebrate Christmas and the New Year. According to my family, I make the best ensalada de gallina in the world, but the secret is making it while in a good mood.
Whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years Eve, my family typically resorts to making tamales. Because it does take time to prepare everything, we tend to divide and conquer as we sit around the table making the masa, prepping the chicken and beef, and stuffing each corn husk. Despite it being a long and tedious process, it’s symbolic to our family because it’s time we get away from everything and conversations just flow, so at the end of the day it’s a bonding moment for all of us.
My family likes to add Italian dishes to the traditional offering of Turkey and fixings. Every family of Italian heritage has different culinary traditions to celebrate the holiday and my family celebration of Thanksgiving means accompanying the Turkey and stuffing with Eggplant Parmigiana, Porcini Mushroom Risotto, Lasagna, sausage, cheeses, stuffed mushrooms, assorted olives, roasted red peppers and artichokes. With all this food, the greatest blessing, is (la famiglia che siede dall'altra parte del tavolo) the family that sits across the table from me, and knowing that there is plenty to eat and much to talk about.
Although my favorite food is the meals we prepare for Christmas and New Year’s Eve, my most cherished moment is the time we gather with our families and friends and enjoy each other’s company. We spend time together making the traditional hallacas, the Venezuelan version of a tamal with a protein encased by corn dough. While the kids usually spread the dough and mix the ingredients, other family members and friends prepare the stuffing and wrap the hallacas. With everyone involved, we can prepare up to 100 hallacas!
Holidays are synonymous to enjoying time with family and friends, which is my favorite part. We typically invite everyone we know and share different dishes such as pork leg in the oven, hallacas, chicken salad and bread ham. During this period we remember the time shared in previous holidays and call our family who are living far away as not everyone can be present.
My favorite Foote family tradition is gathering around with my loved ones after a big Thanksgiving meal, which includes several helpings of stuffing. Whether we play sports in the backyard or take a food coma and watch the Cowboys, it is always my happiest time of the year.
For New Year’s Eve, we have a tradition of eating 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight. The 12 grapes represent the 12 months of the new year, and with each grape you eat, you must make a wish or resolution for the new year. You also need to finish the 12 grapes and wishes before the first minute of the year ends so that you ensure they come true. This is one of my favorite traditions, and it is usually followed by grabbing an empty backpack and running around the block. It is said the bigger the bag and the farther you run, it determines how far and how long you will be traveling for that new year. So get your grapes and running shoes ready!
Adriana and Daniel
What we like the most is spending quality time with our family, we do not take for granted the fact that we get to spend such a special season together so we make the most out of it! Our favorite meal/holiday tradition is making hallacas, which are a traditional Venezuelan dish made of a corn dough stuffed with pork, beef, olives, raisins and capers and folded in banana leaves. Making them is at least a two-day process in which the family gets together and everyone is in charge of a task such as chopping the ingredients, cleaning the leaves or assembling the hallacas. It’s truly a moment to be happy, listen to music, dance and laugh around the people that we love the most. A few years ago we also learned how to make Pan de Jamon, which is another staple in every Venezuelan Christmas celebration and it has become one of our favorite dishes to make - Nothing like eating fresh bread out of the oven! Other traditions that we enjoy are decorating the table, singing karaoke and eating arepas de pernil the day after Christmas Eve.
When my family moved to the U.S. in 2010, we knew what Thanksgiving was but it wasn’t a holiday we celebrated mainly because it is not a national Holiday in Colombia. A few years after living here, we decided to give it a try and we started making a Turkey, traditional Thanksgiving dishes, and we even added our own Colombian twist to it by adding empanadas and other staples from our country’s cuisine. Now we celebrate every year with my immediate family and my in-laws, who are Americans and enjoy a delicious feast every year, as well as leftover turkey sandwiches up to three days after.