Christmas is a time when people come together to celebrate with their families, and special Christmas food is a big part of that. For most people, the best part of these seasonal treats are the many delicious Christmas sweets that they get to enjoy during this season.
Puddings, cakes, candies, and fruits all make an appearance on the table each Christmas season. And, just like traditions, most regions have their own favourites. So, here are some of the most delicious Christmas sweets that are enjoyed around the world.
1Bûche de Noël, France
The burning of a yule log dates back to medieval times, though in more recent years this has undergone an edible twist in France. The yule log cake (or Bûche de Noël) is a popular Christmas dessert, that is usually made of sponge cake frosted to look like a bark-covered log and decorated with marzipan and powdered sugar.
2Pan de Pasaca, Chile
While Pan de Pasaca literally means “Easter Bread” in Spanish, it is a popular Christmas sweet in Chile. It is a sponge cake made with honey and ginger, along with almonds, walnuts, candied fruits, and raisins, and was brought to Chile by German immigrants. The cake is similar to two other Christmas desserts, the German Stollen, and Italian panettone.
3Christmas Pudding, UK
Much like the yule log, Christmas puddings date back to medieval times, though it was initially a savoury dish. It is also known as plum pudding, though it doesn’t actually contain plums, instead has raisins (which were known as ‘plums’ pre-Victorian England). Christmas pudding as we enjoy it today became popular during Victorian times and is traditionally made from suet, eggs, treacle, spices, and fruits.
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These popular Christmas sweets come from Spain, though they can be found in many Spanish influenced countries, including places in Latin America. It is a nougat-like treat that is made with sugar, egg whites, honey, and almonds. You can also find differently flavoured turrón such as bars filled with candied fruit, peanuts or walnuts.
These gingerbread-like cookies are a traditional Christmas treat in Germany. They come in various shapes and sizes and can range from spicy to sweet, though they usually contain honey, spices, ginger, candied fruits, and nuts. These cookies are said to have been invented by monks in the 13th century, and can now be seen at Christmas markets across the country.
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Bibingka is a popular Christmas dessert in the Philippines. This spongy rice cake is made with rice flour and coconut milk and can have a variety of toppings. It is often eaten for breakfast during the Christmas season. Versions of this cake can also be found in Indonesia, and in South India, especially in the state of Goa.
7Pavlova, New Zealand
Though this light dessert comes from New Zealand, it is named for a Russian ballet dancer, Anna Pavlova who visited the country in the 1920s. As the holiday seasons fall during the summer months, this light meringue-based cake with a gooey center and a crisp crust that is topped with whipped cream and fruit makes the perfect Christmas dessert.
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These delicious cookies are a Christmas staple in Denmark. Literally meaning ‘vanilla wreaths,’ the vanilla-flavoured butter cookies are often garnished with chopped almonds. Many countries around the world have also adopted these tasty cookies as part of the Christmas season.
Szaloncukor is a popular Hungarian Christmas dessert that is often found hung as a decoration on Christmas trees. It is a chocolate covered fondant candy that comes in brightly wrapped paper, and in a variety of flavours, such as vanilla, strawberry, hazelnut, and coconut. Children are expected to finish all of these treats from the tree before the holiday season is over.
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10Speculoos, Belgium and the Netherlands
The Belgians and the Dutch share one of the most delicious Christmas sweets. Speculoos (or Speculaas) are thin, crunchy shortbread cookies flavoured with spices that are associated with St. Nicholas or ‘Sinterklaas’. These cookies are often baked into festive shapes, and their appearance in markets signal the arrival of the holiday season.
11Oliebollen, the Netherlands
While the name translates to ‘oil balls,’ these deep-fried sweet doughnut-like dumplings are actually quite heavenly. They are dusted with powdered sugar and sold during the cold winter months, and during the holiday season, hundreds of street vendors can be found selling these tasty treats.