Thursday, 15 December 2011

Celebratory Deserts from Around the World

Every culture has its own celebratory fare for that special occasion, be it a wedding, birth of a child or winter festivities. Here is a list of the yummiest cakes/ deserts from around the world (and the story behind each) to whet your tastebuds and have you running for the nearest patisserie. Yum.


This oval shaped baked delight is eaten on January 6 in spain to celebrate "Día de los Reyes" (or "Kings' Day"). The Kings it refers to are the three wise men from the nativity story.
The cake contains dried sultanas, candied fruit and most excitingly; you hide a coin or a figurine of baby Jesus inside. The person who finds the trinket is said to be blessed with good luck, because it represents the flight of the little baby Jesus from King Herod.


This is a delicious rice cake from the Philippines made from rice flour, coconut milk and baked in a clay pot lined with banana leaves. This cake is sold outside churches during midnight mass.


One of my mum's faves deserts. Pavlova is a bit like a meringue, but crunchy on the outside but  goey and marshmallowlike on the inside. Named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, who toured Australia and New Zealand in 1926.



You can have these delicious Czech treats with pretty much any filling. Let your imagination run wild or alternatively stick to the classic poppy seed, prunes, insert other yummy dried fruit here approach.


This pudding is usually shared amongst family, friends and loved ones on the first significant holiday of the Islamic calendar- Muharrem. It is on this day that Noah and his family left the ark and the pudding represents an offering of peace and love.


My personal favourite. You can offer me the kingdom's of heaven, but a little piece of Gulab Jamum will probably work just as well.

My god. Fried dough balls, soaked in sugar syrup and flavoured with saffaron, rose water, cardamon. I'm in heaven. 


Rice cakes and apparently an inherent part of Korean culture and celebrations for circa 2000 years. Looks good enough to eat.

Honey cake, a little like gingerbread. Invented by medieval monks in Germany back in the 13th century.  Back in the day sugar was an expensive luxury, so the brothers used honey as a sweetner.


I prefer panaettone but this aromatic cake  was said to be so good that it was paid as tax to monks in Italy's monasteries, centuries ago.

Bûche de Noël - France

To you and me, this is the Snow Log. But forget the Iceland version we ate  at school christmas dinners.

The origins of this dessert can be traced back to the ancient Celtic tradition of celebrating the winter solstice. On the shortest day of the year, the Celts would search for a large trunk and burn it as a symbol of the rebirth of the sun. 

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