Today, I take you on a little (partial) world tour of Christmas desserts and treats in three infographics. I hope you have a sweet tooth!
Together with the help of our amazing MKB blogging family, I have managed to compile a list of some typical Christmas desserts and sweets people in different countries enjoy. The list is, of course, by no means exhaustive. There are plenty more options in every country mentioned. I have tried to showcase variety and diversity as well as represent the regional trends of each continent.
European Christmas food very much centers around fruit cakes and sweet breads. The famous Italian panettone and pandoro have made their way to many households beyond Italy (mine in Germany included). It is also very popular in South America where many families follow traditions inherited from their European ancestors. Dark and often alcohol-drenched fruit cakes are also very typical Christmas cakes in Europe and usually a labour of love, as they can take days to create. The German Stollen or the British Christmas pudding both take days if not weeks to make and their making often marks the beginning of the Christmas period.
North Americans are really fond of cookies at Christmas. Families and friends often meet-up and bake them together. These cookies can take many forms and combine many different flavours. American expats around me also hold cookie exchange parties where every family brings a cookie and then swap them with others. You go home with 10 or 15 different cookie varieties. It is great fun.
Central American Christmas desserts include rich fruit cakes along with rice puddings. These often differ from their European cousins’ versions in that they use more exotic fruits like coconut.
For South Americans, Christmas is in summer. Fresh fruits often replace heavy cakes. However, it seems as though families still choose to honour their heritage by preparing dishes (sweet or not) their ancestors brought over from Europe (or elsewhere). So it won’t be uncommon to find Italian panettone or chocotone (a kind of Swiss roll) in Brazil, for example.
Finally, if there is one item that seems to be common to most of these dishes, it would have to be cinnamon. Whether it is added to rice pudding in Central America, mince pies in the U.K. or to the worldwide phenomenon that is gingerbread, it is (almost) everywhere at Christmas.
I would have loved to have been able to include African countries as well as Asian ones but I had too few candidates. If you have any suggestions of Christmas desserts from there, please do not hesitate to add them in a comment below.
I hope I have awaken your curiosity and appetite. Let us know what you are having on your sweet table this Christmas.
Merry Christmas and bon appétit.
This post is part of our third annual Christmas in Different Lands series. Drop by the Christmas in Different Lands landing page to follow along as we count down to Christmas!
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