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Tasty Traditions

Dec 08, 2017 11:02PM ● Published by John Lehndorff

Family members looking to give each other a holiday gift this season that won’t collect dust on a shelf are apparently looking to some personal antiques. Imagine the big reveal when everyone unwraps a box of family DNA tests. Sure, the occasion could be awkward depending on the results, but I’d love to find out more beyond my general central European/Sicilian heritage. More critically, I want blood evidence to account for my conflicting obsessions with fruitcake, green chili tamales, sweet and sour pork, latkes, and yeasted cardamom loaves.

To me, DNA stands for “Dinner Now Available,” especially when it comes to the end-of-year holidays from Hanukkah (December 12–20) through New Year’s Day. I’ve used my life as a food writer to gain entrée to ethnic occasions featuring an array of special treats. I’m not sure where those yummy, nut-crusted Port cheese balls fit in. 

Colorado already has some great holiday traditions with more Parades of Lights and Nutcrackers, Christmas carols, and Hallelujah choruses than you can shake a stocking at. Many are more moved by South Park ’s “A Very Special Critter Christmas” episode or the Nitty Grit- ty Dirt Band’s “Colorado Christmas” than more traditional displays of seasonal spirit. Kids and seniors alike love the sweet tours at Hammond’s Candy, the ginger- bread mansion display at the Broadmoor, and ginger bread house-making activities at the Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls, and Toys.

But if you are digging for your own roots, consider the following opportunities around town to jump mouth-first into diverse cultural culinary joys. 


17TH-ANNUAL CHRISTKINDL MARKET Daily through Dec. 23 // Skyline Park // Denver

Beyond imported gifts and live music, this annual attrac- tion boasts a menu of glühwein (mulled spiced wine), Bavarian beer, traditional pastries, chocolate, and chest- nut soup.



ST. LUCIA’S DAY DINNER & PROCESSION Dec.13//AugustanaLutheranChurch//Denver

This traditional Swedish gathering features a big Christ- mas dinner followed by a choir of carolers and a Lucia Procession.




Dec. 2 // Calvary Baptist Church // Denver

The traditional Scandinavian celebration features im- ported gifts, dancing around the Christmas tree, a car- ol choir, kids’ activities and Lucia, the Queen of Lights. On the menu are glögg, gingerbread cookies, waffles, lussekatter, and limpa bread. DENVER.SWEA.ORG/SWEDISH-CHRISTMAS-MARKET


Dec. 24 // Firenze a Tavola at Parisi Pizzeria // Denver On Christmas Eve, Italian-Americans traditionally en- joy the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a multi-course sea-

food celebration that includes bacala (salt cod) soup.



Dec. 24 // The Fort Restaurant // Morrison

A shortened, one-night-only version of Mexico’s tradi- tional nine-day celebration reenacting Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem, this annual Colorado happening takes place outdoors on the grounds of The Fort, where Las Posadas songs are met with Mexican hot chocolate, hot cider, and biscochitos—rich cinnamon-sugar cookies. THEFORT.COM


Dec. 13 // Children’s Museum of Denver // Denver

This gathering for kids and families on the third night of Chanukah features games, dreidels, singing, and latkes. JEWISHCOLORADO.ORG/EVENT/CHANUKAH-NIGHT 

Edible Critic