One of the last chapters in my sweet romance novella, A Portuguese Christmas, explores Christmas Eve traditions in Portugal.
Krystal, the heroine, is a professional surfer. Adolfo, the hero, is a Portuguese olive farmer. Veronica, Krystal’s cousin, married a Portuguese man and resides in Portugal. Aunt Edite is their elderly aunt and a professional artist.
Krystal layered boiled, sliced potatoes onto the boiled and shredded salted cod. In another baking dish, she added sautéed onions, black olives and hard-boiled eggs. “My first Christmas Eve supper in Portugal,” she declared.
Veronica smiled. “Your first of many Consoadas.” She wiped her hands on her frilly green apron adorned with mistletoe and then tended to flash-boiling an array of shellfish, including crab, clams, and pink shrimp. She arranged the seafood on a white ceramic serving platter to serve warm in their shells. “How’s this?”
“Looks delicious,” Krystal said. “Truly, I’ve never seen so much food.”
The women paraded into Veronica’s expansive dining room. The shiny mahogany table fairly groaned beneath an assortment of hazelnuts, olives and garden-fresh collard greens drizzled in olive oil.
Krystal peeked at her reflection in the hallway mirror as she passed. She’d fussed with her appearance, wearing her hair in a side-swept chignon and donning a candy-apple-red crepe shift she’d purchased in Peniche, along with black kitten heels.
Aunt Edite placed a silver candelabrum, lit with a half dozen red and green candles, in the center of the table. “Consoada literally translated means ‘to comfort.’ Traditionally, we abstain from meat dishes on Christmas Eve because Advent is our ‘little lent’ and we fast and repent the days before Christmas.”
“Until Christmas Day,” Adolfo added, “when pork and roasted lamb are served.”
Enjoy the video here.