30% OFF Pride collection code: USAPRIDE! Free Shipping over $99

From Grapes to Rompope, Here’s A Glimpse of New Year’s and Culinary Traditions

by Stephen Chavez December 29, 2011

The intimate connection between holidays and food has existed and endured throughout time in all cultures. These culinary rhythms accentuating the holidays are especially true for Spanish-speaking cultures: tamales and Christmas, the Rosca de Reyes (ring cake) and the Day of the Epiphany (commonly referred to Three Kings Day), Capirotada (bread pudding) and Lent, are just a few to keep in mind, but what about New Year’s? Besides all the party cocktails associated to this holiday, are there actual foods associated to the first day of the year? The answer, of course, is yes! Foods symbolic of prosperity and luck, such as lentils, greens, pork, and grapes are enjoyed in different cultures, including the Spanish-speaking world.

Lentils and greens, because of their round shape and color, are associated to money and consuming them is thought to bring good economic fortune for the coming year. In many countries pork and fish are associated with good fortune since in traditional, rural cultures the number of pigs and livestock was the indicator of personal wealth. Fish, because they’re constantly moving forward in schools, are the symbol of personal progress and abundance in some Asian and European cultures.

In Mexico, Colombia and many other parts of Latin America people carry on the Spanish tradition of eating grapes at midnight. The tradition, called ‘las doce uvas de la suerte’ (the twelve grapes of luck), requires that, with each chime of the bell at midnight, one grape must be eaten: the sweetness or tartness of each grape will indicate what kind of month lies ahead of you. For example, if the fourth grape is sour, the month of April may have some unwelcomed surprises for you! The tradition dates back to the late 19th century when in one particular year a group of grape farmers in Alicante, located in the eastern coast of the Spanish Mediterranean, harvested an abundance of grapes, and so needed to rid themselves of their abundant crop. In what became a clever marketing strategy, they promoted the practice of consuming grapes at midnight. Ten years later it was popularized throughout the region and today is still practiced throughout Spanish-speaking countries.


The delicious egg nog of the south, “Rompope.”



Beverages, of course, take on special meaning for the New Year. Like so many of Mexico’s culinary signature dishes, rompope (a finer version of egg nog with alcohol) was born in the kitchen of a convent. The mischievous nuns at the convent of Santa Clara in the state of Puebla mixed eggs, milk and cinnamon and added a splash of alcohol to spice up monastic life at the convent. The Puerto Rican version of this, the heavenly Coquito, also includes eggs and cinnamon, but a coconut cream (or for a lighter version of it, coconut milk) is added to the concoction. In Madrid, Spain after the parties and street celebrations, eating churros and chocolate caliente (hot chocolate) at 5 or 6 in the morning,  is a popular way of welcoming the New Year.

Wherever you may be this New Year may you be fortunate to partake in any of these culinary traditions,… and may all your grapes turn out delectably sweet for 2014!

The post From Grapes to Rompope, Here’s A Glimpse of New Year’s and Culinary Traditions appeared first on Latino Foodie.

Stephen Chavez
Stephen Chavez


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in Culinary

Maple Cream Easter Eggs

by Femme Fraîche March 20, 2016

Maple Cream Easter EggsEvery year when I was a kid, I could count on two things in my Easter basket – marshmallow eggs and maple cream eggs. Each served different purposes. The maple cream Easter eggs were my favorites and what I squealed over even more than finding plastic hidden eggs that held a dollar bill or a tiny toy. The marshmallow eggs were nothing I ever fancied and always found their way into the freezer for...

Continue Reading →

Salsa Casera Recipe – Super Hot and Delicious

by Stephen Chavez March 12, 2016

Salsa Casera or House Salsa is one of the simplest and most flavorful salsas that brings a robust heat and a smokey flavor from the charred tomatoes and chile peppers. Beware! I like heat and so this recipe has one dried Scorpion pepper added to the mix. Scorpion peppers are one of the hottest chiles in the world, with a mean heat of more than 1.2 million Scoville heat units (SHUs).

Using a...

Continue Reading →

Mushroom and Kale Egg Bake

by Femme Fraîche March 06, 2016

Mushroom and Kale Egg BakeAdulting is hard stuff. Sure, there are the big things like taking care of kids or parents, unexpected car and home repairs, dealing with awful work situations, but sometimes the littlest things feel the most difficult. These days, one of my biggest dilemmas is finding what to feed myself in the mornings that is convenient, nourishing, and so tasty I’ll be psyched to eat it a few days a week. This...

Continue Reading →