- Hallacas (Hallaca) : Hallacas refer to boiled Tamales made with beef, chicken or pork, and cheese and other ingredients.The Hallaca is the main Venezuelan Christmas dinner dish and is considered to be Venezuela's national dish. Hallaca combines the indigenous bananas leaves, a rich Spanish filling of beef, chicken, pork, olives and vegetables, with aromatic African spices. Hallaca's origin is unclear. It is theorized that they could could have invented from the Spanish colonists homesickness for their tasty and elaborate meals. This is shown by the similarity between the Venezuelan's Hallaca and Spain's Empanada Gallega, a pasty from Galicia. The filling is basically similar, with maize substituting for flour and the banana leaf wrapping. The second theory of its origin was that Hallacas were created by the slaves during the colony times. They put the left-overs of their master's Christmas festivities in a bit of cornmeal dough, wrapped this with banana leaves and cooked to mix the flavors. Like many other things in Venezuela, the Hallaca was also influenced by many cultures: (1) the white Hallaca uses European ingredients like raisins, nuts and olives; (2) the native Hallaca uses cornmean and colored Onoto seeds; (3) black Hallaca is wrapped in banana leaves. The original Hallaca is made with meat, such as pork, poultry, beef, lard, crispy pork rind, etc and boiled eggs. Preparing and making Hallacas require a lot of time, however, in Venezuela, its preparation becomes a family event, a happy and festive event involving the whole family. It is said that Hallaca tastes much better when taken cold. In Venezuela, Hallacas is considered a very special dish for Christmas. Almost all families before Christmas. The families share great times and enjoy eating Hallacas the whole month of December. It is a tradition to eat this dish on Christmas eve, which is like a Thanksgiving day in Venezuela. Taken with Hallacas in the countryside is a drink called Ponche which the also prepare for the holidays. Ponche is a beverage made of milk, eggs, sugar, and alcohol. This beverage is enjoyed as an accompaniment of Hallacas on special days in December Hallacas are also sometimes called Hallacas Venezolanas (Venezuelan Hallacas) or Hayacas.

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