Christmas is the time for the family and friends to gather and share good times, gifts, and certainly delicious food! Christmas desserts are an integral part of Christmas eve dinner, and some traditional sweets have become popular all around the world, appreciated and prepared outside their country of origin.
In the region of Provence – France, the tradition is to prepare thirteen desserts of Christmas, or “Les Treize Desserts de Noël”, and enjoy them after dinner on Christmas eve. These 13 desserts represent Jesus and his 12 apostles at the Last Supper. As tradition goes, each guest must have at least a small bit of each dessert. Among these desserts, we name the famous Chocolate Bûche de Noel, calissons, nougat blanc, quince paste, Fougasse (a typical olive oil bread of Provence), etc.
A German Christmas cannot be complete without mulled wine or Glühwein, an essential Christmas beverage enjoyed on a cold day, accompanied by Cinnamon German Christmas Cookies or Zimtsterne. Emperor’s Cookies or Kaiser-Plätzchen are another type of irresistible jam-filled cookies with different shapes such as like stars, hearts etc.
A distinctive Polish dessert is Makowiec or Poppy-seed cake, sometime also prepared for Easter. The poppy head filled with hundreds of poppy seeds is a symbol of harvest and fertility. Therefore, in the past, Polish people believed that eating poppy-seed cake during the holidays will bring them luck in life.
Piernik or Gingerbread is a famous aromatic cake with a strong and characteristic taste made from wheat and rye flour, milk, eggs, caramelized sugar and honey. A mixture of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, anise and lavender is usually added to give its typical flavor. In Poland, piernik is sold in a form of a big lump of a cake, or as a package of small cookies usually covered with chocolate and filled with fruit preserves, nut mass or marzipan.
Everyone cherishes Italian Christmas desserts! Zuppa Inglese consists of layers of cake brushed with a rum and jam mixture, layered in a glass bowl with vanilla and chocolate pastry cream and finally topped with sweetened whipped cream and fruit.
Panettone is a tall, cylindrical, fruit-filled sweet bread from Milan and which is today prepared around the world during Christmas season.
From Russia we bring you Pagach, a Lenten bread, that is eaten the first thing eaten Christmas Eve fast. The bread is dipped in honey to represent the “sweetness of life,” then in chopped garlic to represent the bitterness of life. Kutya, is a porridge of whole grains, honey and poppy seeds. The grains represent hope, and the honey and poppy seeds represent happiness and peace. Kutya is generally serves as the main dish during the holy supper. Fresh Fruit and Nuts are also a tradition on Russian Christmas eve, they include fresh figs, apricots, oranges and dates as well as nuts.
During Christmas, in the Holy land, a big bowl of freshly baked Christmas cookies such as mamoul or ghraibeh is served to the guests and shared with family members.
Lebanese Christmas dinners are known for their rich menu and the entire family contributes to preparing delicious dishes. Mouthwatering desserts are served after dinner and during the festive season; these include meghleh a type of cinnamon and rice pudding decorated with grated coconut and nuts, the Bûche de Noel with varying versions, stuffing and shapes, cooked wheat berries or Kamhiyyeh, etc. Fruit Liqueur is also served during Christmas time.