It’s Christmas time and although mistletoe and wine are great, let’s be honest – we’re all salivating at the thought of satisfying our sweet tooth! From spiced biscuits to boozy puds there just seems to be so many options when the festive season rolls around. But how do they do it around the world? What’s their go to dessert or post-Christmas feast sweet treat? With some familiar favourites that taste better in their native homeland to a few you’ve never heard of, here’s our Christmas puddings from around the world.
Buche de Noel – France
The Christmas Yule Log, but not as you know it! The Buche de Noel is like a work of art, a chance for talented and competitive French bakers to show their decorating prowess. This trend dates back a number of decades, with elaborate Christmas scenes sitting atop the chocolatey log. And with the well-known talents of French cake makers, where better for the tastes of sweet cream and soft rolled sponge?
Did you know? The origins of the Buche de Noel come from the tradition of burning a dense log in the fire, a key staple of Christmas proceedings.
Rum Cake – The Caribbean
Christmas is the time of year when it’s acceptable to add an extra glug or two of alcohol to your baking delights. Fruit cake, meet Caribbean rum! And like all good Christmas preparations, the rum cake planning starts months in advance. Those pieces of dried fruit are soaked in rum for a good few months beforehand, adding an unrivalled flavour. Added to dough that’s made with caramelised sugar, this is just the right blend of sweet treat and alcohol kick – so what better for a sugary Christmas pick me up?
Did you know? Fruit cake made its way over to the Caribbean in the 18th century, with chefs needing a way to preserve it in the beaming sun. It’s believed that this is where rum played its part and the taste legacy lives on today.
Melomakarona – Greece
Greece has a strong reputation when it comes to desserts and sweet treats, so it would stand to reason that it would have a tasty trick up its sleeve for Christmas! Combining the familiar festive flavours of Orange and Brandy in a bite-sized cookie. Soaked in a sugary honey syrup and coated with walnuts straight after they’ve been baked – it sounds like the perfect blend of Christmas tastes and Greek flavours right? If you love Baklava then this will be right up your street!
Did you know? It’s a tradition for many Greek families to make their own Melomakarona at Christmas, so we’d imagine there’s hundreds and thousands of recipe variations tweaked in family homes.
Turrón de Navidad – Spain
If there’s only one Christmas treat from around the world that you’ll want to replicate, it’s this historic Spanish delicacy. Made with just 3 simple ingredients, Turrón de Navidad is a nougat-like treat made with roasted almonds, egg whites and honey. Although a little softer and chewier than its harder cousin, it’s often enjoyed with a coffee or brandy. Its roots date back to Moorish influence over 500 years ago, although the locals added their own twists soon enough.
Did you know? This Christmas treat comes from the small town of Jijona, sat in the mountains and with access to local honey that gives Turrón de Navidad its sweet flavour.
Panettone – Italy
Another fruity one that has long infiltrated our Christmas traditions – you’ll often see Panettone in British supermarkets at Christmas. But nothing compares to the real deal! While you might find chocolate chip varieties, fruity versions and those with your favourite tipple, the Italian recipe is all about zingy citrus flavours and juicy raisins. It’s also one of the most pleasing to look at, with its domed top and colourful fruit dotted around inside – revealed when you cut it open.
Did you know? Panettone’s origins lie in Milan where it was originally named pane di tono – translating to luxury bread in the local dialect.
Truchas de Navidad – the Canary Islands
Truchas might translate to trout in Spanish, but there’s nothing fishy about these little Christmas parcels. Wrapped up inside this pastry lies the present of sweet potato, almonds, sugar and cinnamon – sweet and Moorish, you’ll find yourself craving more. The flavour might remind you more of Halloween, but there’s also Pumpkin varieties that are well worth sampling too!
Did you know? Truchas de Navidad are coated in powdered sugar before being eaten warm, their tastiest temperature.