MERRY CHRISTMAS! 圣诞快乐！
This is my second Christmas in China, but my first as a family of three, and our first in our more permanent home, so I really had a chance to create some atmosphere and get into the Christmas spirit*.
So I decided to throw a Christmas party for R’s cousins!
You can find a pretty good selection of international and imported foods in Dalian, if you’re willing to look for them.
I made roast chicken with ‘cranberry sauce’**, IKEA meatballs, two homemade loaves of bread, with English cheeses, salt and vinegar crisps. To finish off we had Belgian chocolates and a gingerbread house, and to drink I made mulled wine and mulled apple juice, and we also had Bailey’s.
To further increase the culture shock for our guests, this was laid out as a help yourself buffet, to seat and eat on your lap. “How British,” my husband said.
I’m really pleased with how it went. R’s cousins seemed really interested, especially in the Pomanders (oranges adorned with cloves), and tried everything with enthusiasm, as well as taking a million photos to document the strange foreign customs. I think they liked trying all the different drinks too.
Whilst I planned the menu to be as easy to prepare as possible – I made most of it in advance – I think it impressed. My big disappointment though was that I prepared the gingerbread house the day before and it collapsed overnight, perhaps because our kitchen is a bit damp.
If I stay in Dalian for Christmas again next year, I’ll definitely do the same again, and maybe even scale it up a little!
*Compared to last year when we lived in a rented, unheated apartment in dusty Guilin, a much less developed city in Southern China.
**It was actually Lingonberry jelly from IKEA but close enough!