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January 2019

International Recipes to Try for the Holidays

Spice up your Holidays with these foods from around the world

It’s time for great festivities and you’ve got some hunger pangs. Why settle for the standard fare when you can explore a world of wintery culinary delights? Today we’ll look at a variety of international holiday foods that you can make and share with your loved ones this year.

Feuerzangenbowle (Germany)

Before beginning any endeavor, might we suggest a traditional German cold weather drink, the Feuerzangenbowle ("Fire Tong" punch). Popularised by the 1943 German comedy “Die Feuerzangenbowle”, a mug of this warm and winey winter drink can certainly shoo away the cold. But what makes this beverage really special is the cone of sugar lit on fire over the seasoned wine. The sugar slowly drips into the drink as rum is poured over it. It's not a Feuerzangenbowle, after all, without a little fire.

Spotted Dick (England)

Despite its funny name, Spotted Dick is a traditional English dessert that’s been around for a long time. Like many traditional puddings, it’s made with suet, the hard fat of beef or mutton. This gives the dessert an added richness that butter just can’t provide. Dried fruit and citrus juice are added for additional zest, and the final result is covered with a creamy custard sauce.

Panettone (Italy)

The Italians know more than a little bit about cooking, and a favorite Christmas cake from the culinary country is panettone. It's a tall, buttery bread filled with raisins simmered in Marsala wine. The addition of candied citron makes it even more flavorful. It’s then baked into the iconic tall cake that it is.

Mexican Hot Chocolate (Mexico)

Why settle for standard hot chocolate when you can have Mexican hot chocolate? It was around Mexico where chocolate was first put to use, so the people of this region definitely know their way around cacao. While cinnamon can also be added to this rendition of hot chocolate, it’s the chili pepper that really makes this hot drink caliente. To finish it off, a tool called a molinillo is used to add a whole lot of froth to the drink.

Summer Christmas Trifle (South Africa)

While the trifle is well known and eaten around the world, the Summer Christmas Trifle is apparently much enjoyed in South Africa. It's the standard trifle, elevated, with Swiss rolls instead of plain old pound cake. And then you have your layers, consisting of rich custard, an assortment of sweet and colorful fruits, chopped nuts, lots of sherry (or rum or brandy or any other liquor you prefer), and a topping of whipped cream.

Matcha Swiss Roll (Japan)

Speaking of Swiss rolls, here’s a great variation from Japan, a country that loves delicately sweet desserts and matcha. Matcha is a concentrated green tea powder that’s highly prized and very much popular now around the world (you may have a matcha cafe or ice cream shop already near you). In case you didn’t already know, a Swiss roll is a rolled-up sponge cake with cream inside. It’s got a soft texture that’s accented by the creamy filling, meaning it tastes as fun as it looks! It’s also a nice balance with Japan’s other holiday favorite: Kentucky Fried Chicken.

What desserts do you like to prepare in your country for the holidays? Which will you be preparing this year? Let us know your thoughts on our Facebook Page, and be sure to “like” TELC English for more articles on culture from around the world!