7 Fun Christmas Foods From Around The World
When we were kids, Christmas was all about playing outside in the snow and hoping that Santa read our long wishlist of gifts. But now that we’re (technically) adults, we know that the magic of the holidays lies in three little words: all the food. Christmas cookies, Christmas cocktails and casseroles — no matter what you like, you know that food tends to be that much more special around the holidays. When baking or buying food for your next holiday party, you might be tempted to stick to something safe like gingerbread or festive sugar cookies, but consider expanding your horizons instead. Showing up with one of these seven festive dishes from around the world will surely impress your friends and coworkers.
1. Panettone — Italy
If there’s one thing Italians know how to do, it’s creating mouthwatering food like this traditional Christmas treat. Panettone is a type of sweet bread loaf that originated in Milan. It’s made with slightly acidic dough similar to sourdough and filled with candied orange, citron, lemon zest and raisins. It’s traditionally cut vertically into wedges and eaten alongside sweet wine or amaretto liqueur. Since panettone has become pretty mainstream in the United States, you’ll likely be able to find it at your local grocery store or at a specialty Italian food store like Eataly. If you’re experienced in the culinary department and looking to make your own version of this sweet bread at home, check out this
Grandma DiLaura’s Panettone recipe from Food52.
2. Bûche de Noël — France
This traditional Christmas cake is shaped like a yule log and served around Christmas time in France, Switzerland, Belgium and Quebec. It’s traditionally made with basic yellow sponge cake and chocolate buttercream and then rolled to form a cylindrical shape that resembles a log. It’s then garnished with confectioners’ sugar to resemble snow on a log, berries and marzipan in the form of mushrooms and Santas. The original recipe dates back to the 19th century. Check out this recipe from Bon Appétit to make your very own Bûche de Noël at home.
3. Stollen — Germany
This sweet bread is a must-have at any Christmas feast in Germany. It’s a yeast bread that is baked with dried fruits, candied citrus peel, nuts and various spices like cardamom and cinnamon. There are many different variations that call for more of a certain ingredient, but they’re all traditionally slathered in unsalted butter as soon as they come out of the oven and dusted with a thick coat of powdered sugar. If you’re interested in making your own festive bread at home, check out this Christmas Stollen recipe from the Food Network that only requires an hour of prep time.
4. Borscht And Uszka (Soup With Mushroom Dumplings) — Poland
Borscht is a meatless soup that’s traditionally served with uszka (“little ear” dumplings) during Wigilia, the Polish Christmas Eve dinner. The soup is sour and made with beetroot that gives it that festive red color. The dumplings are made with dough and stuffed with a mushroom filling. It’s the perfect dish to warm up with when the wind is blowing outside, and it’s a great Christmas option for all of the plant-based eaters in the room.
5. Roscón de Reyes — Spain
This mouthwatering cake is a Spanish traditional king’s cake pastry that’s eaten to celebrate Epiphany. The cake is made with yeast dough and flavored with orange, lemon and orange blossom water. Some variations are also filled with whipped cream. The cake’s classic oval shape is meant to mimic the shape of a crown. A plastic trinket is often hidden in the cake, and whoever finds it becomes the “king of the party.”
6. Beigli — Hungary
This pastry is also known as a “poppy seed roll” in the United States. It originated in Hungary and is often eaten around Christmas and Easter in parts of Central and Eastern Europe. It’s a pastry that consists of a roll of sweet yeast bread with a dense, rich poppy seed filling made with poppy seeds, raisins, butter or milk, sugar or honey, rum and vanilla. Some varieties swap out the poppy seeds for minced walnuts or minced chestnuts.
7. Melomakarono — Greece
These egg-shaped balls of dough are primarily prepared in Greece during the Christmas holiday season. The pastry is made using flour, olive oil, honey, sugar, orange zest, cognac and cinnamon. After baking, the pastries are immersed for a few seconds in cold syrup made of honey and sugar dissolved in water. Each ball is filled and topped with ground walnuts. Try this Melomakarona recipe from Food52 to sample these festive cookies at home during your own holiday celebration.
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