Being a huge fan of both food and all things Venezuelan, I couldn't refuse the Venezuelan Christmas Bazaar today at the Irish Cultural Institute (Bolivar Hall being booked already) and a chance to try the traditional Venezuelan Christmas dish.
Firstly, I was distracted by the lollicakes, particularly the reindeer on the right....
... then I was distracted by awesome piñatas...
...but eventually I made it to the plato navideño, the typical Venezuelan Christmas dish. The thing on top is the starter, pan de jamón, or ham bread, a sweet, brioche type bread stuffed with ham and raisins. Then the main dish is hallaca, a maize dough pocket stuffed with pork, capers, pepper, raisins, and probably a whole lot more, all wrapped up in a banana leaf and boiled. I added a dash of chilli sauce to mine in the corner. The traditional Christmas plate also includes pernil, boiled ham, and ensalada de gallina, chicken salad. However, there was a huge queue for the full plates and this was big enough for me to contend with anyway!
If you're feeling less adventurous, there's always the classic Venezuelan dish of arepas, flat bread (a bit like pitta), stuffed with whatever you want - in my Dad's case, refried beans, cheese and pulled pork.
Guasacaca sell these tasty treats in markets around London every weekend. Find out more on their Facebook page or tweet @GuasacacaLondon.
Read more about it from Russell Maddicks at Venezuelan Food and Drink.