Twelve Must-Try Christmas Treats From Around The World

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Twelve Days Of Christmas

“On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me” the idea to bring together a few of the most famous Christmas treats from around the world.

Christmas is indeed the most wonderful time of the entire year. It is a time of reflection, a time of remembering why we even celebrate Christmas in the first place. A time for being grateful for what we have, for being together with the loved ones, for sharing the love for one another and of course, for eating the foods that we love. But most of all, it is the best time for giving!

Click the links to the recipes, have fun preparing some desserts and enjoy sharing them at your Christmas table!

In the most challenging year of our generation, I hope you are well, healthy, happy and on Santa’s “nice” list.

P.S. I could never remember the order of verses in this carol, so I’m giving myself (and anyone else who might fancy it) a chance to get it right finally. Sing along the carol and enjoy your treats!

Merry Christmas!

A Partridge in a Pear Tree


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Romanian Cozonac for Christmas

Cozonac is a beautiful Christmas culinary delight I grew up with as a child – a Romanian tradition that meant on each major holiday mom would bake the best treat there could be. Each important religious holiday (be it Christmas or Easter), the house would smell incredibly good, filled with delightful flavours escaping from the oven. And I would wait impatiently for the festive dinner to finally savour the best treat created by humankind!

To me, cozonac is the best festive treat there can be, and I can never get enough of it! You can offer me the most elaborated sweet made by the most in-demand French pastry chef at a fancy king’s court, and I would always choose cozonac! Nothing beats the aromas that fill the air when you bake it and the taste offered by the combination of spices used in preparation!

Link to recipe here.

Two Turtle Doves


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German Stollen

Do you want to learn how to make stollen? Great! I did too, so I asked my uncle Heinz, a retired German baker. He walked me through the steps of his German recipe. I am happy to share what I have learned! 

A quick backstory:  My father was born into a family of bakers in Bremen in the 1950s. His father was a baker, and his two brothers followed in his footsteps. Until recently you could visit the “Bäckerei Jünemann” in Bremen, but my uncle has now retired. 

You will, of course, have heard of stollen. The white powdered German Christmas cake. It is available to buy in Lidl and Aldi at Christmas time. Try homemade stollen, and you will never buy one again.

Link to recipe here.

Three French Hens


Provided by

Italian Panettone Christmas

As is the case with everything Italian, the nation’s Christmas traditional dessert, Panettone, has its own history that goes back to the fifteenth century. 

A legend has it that one Christmas Eve, while the entire court and guests of Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan were sat at the festive table, disaster stroke in the kitchen. The cook managed to accidentally burn the dessert! 

While the unfortunate cook was pulling his hairs off, a kitchen helper, Toni, threw a few ingredients in a bowl and made a soft dough he baked and served to the potent rulers of Milan. 

The sweetbread was so successful among the guests that the Sforzas called it Pan di Toni (The Bread of Toni) which remained in history as the rich people’s traditional Christmas bread. Today, it is the classic Italian dessert the entire world knows as Panettone.

Link to recipe here.

Four Calling Birds


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The Yule Log or Bûche de Noël tradition goes back centuries – with layers of chocolate, cake and cream, there’s a reason why it endures! This Keto Yule Log cake recipe is the perfect low carb and sugar-free version of this traditional holiday dessert.

The tradition of the yule log literally goes back centuries and originally started as a Norwegian celebration of the solstice. The tradition involved burning an actual log, a tree really! Like so many great pagan traditions, it got absorbed into the Christian tradition (like the very date of Christmas which was originally the Roman holiday Saturnalia!). And now, rather than burning a log, we just eat a log cake – makes perfect sense!? The tradition of making a log cake at Christmas continues in France and across the world in many families.

Link to recipe here.

Five Gold Rings


Provided by

Irish Brambark

This Chocolate Irish Barmbrack Bread is a rendition of a traditional holiday tea loaf! It’s full of semi-sweet chocolate, raisins, and topped with melted chocolate too! This bread is not overly sweet or sugary, but the flavours of the fruit and chocolate shine through!

It’s a perfect bread to share during the holidays or whenever you want a sweet treat. The most traditional holiday it is served on is Halloween, but it’s also included in other holiday celebrations as well.

Since my heritage is about 80% Irish, I was really excited to try out this recipe! I took inspiration from the recipe on the show, and of course, added chocolate to my barmbrack too.

Link to recipe here.

Six Geese a-Laying


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British Mince Pies Traditional Christmas Treats

As a migrant who settled in the UK, of course, I got to learn and appreciate local traditions. But I remember staying away from mince pies for several years. The reason? I did not get why a meaty thing would be placed in a pastry sheet and have sugar sprinkled on top! My prejudice wilted when I decided it was time to do some research and get to the bottom of the story! 

It turned up they were only called mince pies because, historically, they would contain minced meat (mainly mutton). In time, dry fruits would replace the meat and people would start adding booze to the fruity filling.

Mince pies seem to have made it to Britain in the middle ages, brought by the crusaders from the Middle East. At the time, they were filled with meat, fruits and spices and were not a dessert but the main course.

Link to recipe here.

Seven Swans a-Swimming


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Philippines Puto Bumbong

One way of knowing that Christmas is getting nearer is when you see local vendors near churches selling puto bumbong delicacy. A unique sweet delicacy made of purple steamed rice cake usually eaten after attending simbang gabi.

For those living abroad, many miss this traditional delicacy puto bumbong. As we approach the holiday season, especially Christmas, I will be sharing this simple yet easy puto bumbong without a bamboo steamer.

This puto bumbong recipe is originally from the Philippines and plays a significant role in Filipino Catholic practice as a tradition. After attending simbang gabi or 9 traditional novena mass stores are open outside the church to sell puto bumbong, and mass goers will buy and eat right away.

Link to recipe here.

Eight Maids a-Milking


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Polish Rugelach

Rugelach. Pronounced “Rugala”. Learn it well because once you have made and shared this cookie, everyone will be asking its name. Time and time again.

I made these for my work Christmas potluck last year and I bet I said “Rugelach” at least 100 times.

So what exactly is Rugalach? It is a Polish cookie made with a tender cream cheese dough that is filled with the filling of choice and then rolled into a tiny crescent shape.

The version we are making today is a little less traditional, but it is my personal favourite: Cinnamon and brown sugar with a hint of nutmeg and ginger.

Link to recipe here.

Nine Ladies Dancing


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USA traditional Christmas treat

Who else loves sugar cookies? Well, I’ll be honest, they only recently came into my life after my husband requested some sugar cookie truffles.

These truffles are totally versatile. Decorate them for whichever holiday you want by switching the colour of the chocolate wafers and decorative toppings.

In my local area, they only sell frosted sugar cookies, so I purchased those and scraped off most of the icing. I left a little green so that my dough would have a nice light green festive colour to contrast the ruby-red exterior. 

Link to recipe here.

Ten Lords a-Leaping


Provided by

Mexican Carlota

A “Carlota” is far from Mexican; in fact, it’s origin is still debated as possibly being from the United Kingdom. Vegan Carlota is also known as “Charlotte Russe”. Not the store at the local mall ladies and gentlemen.

You will not need a stove. What you will need is a large baking dish. A favourite kitchen helper is also allowed as this dessert will not require heavy machinery but the blender. A Vegan Carlota is made with wheat flour cookies; the brand I used was El Mexicano. If you are following a vegan lifestyle, make sure you double-check as the traditional Gamesas are not vegan. You will need vegan condensed and evaporated milk. Soy or coconut will be just as delicious along with lemon or lime. The mango in this recipe is interchangeable with any other fresh fruit. It was solely used as a topping for aesthetics. I left it in the fridge overnight because it was for a work event but 2 to 3 hours to settle should be fine. Shall we begin?

Link to recipe here.

Eleven Pipers Piping


Provided by

French/USA blackberry pie

This recipe is my take on this famous recipe called Apple pie by Grandma Ople. I love it because it is simple and easy. I fell in love with making pies by following this recipe. But I have made some changes to it, so I hope you will like this version. 

The holidays are coming up, and I tend to stress about not finishing all the food on time; I try to make my holidays as stress-free as possible.

If someone invites us for dinner, this is usually the dessert that I make and bring because of its affordable price and deliciousness. 

Link to recipe here.

Twelve Drummers Drumming


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American buttercream cookies

I am IN LOVE with these cute sugar plum fairy buttercream cookies! I think it’s mostly because the colours are so beautiful. I love to see pastels pulled off correctly during the Christmas season.

This set of sugar plum fairy buttercream cookies would be great for a kid’s birthday party as well! Or maybe even as a baby shower for a little girl on the way!

This tutorial is beginner-friendly, so don’t be worried about all of the steps! I will have a video tutorial plus step-by-step photo series for each of these sugar plum fairy buttercream cookies. Follow along for the detailed tutorial!

Link to recipe here.

The Twelve Days Of Christmas is an anonymous cumulative British carol published in the eighteenth century and still played by carollers today. Hopefully, this tradition will continue for many years to come!

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The World Is An Oyster

Working as a journalist during university was pretty exciting. But landing a cruise ship job barely a year in my new graduate career was something else! Overnight, I moved from an already exhilarating job to an even better one. One that would allow me to wake up every morning in a different country. What more can a twenty-something wish for? The fact that I was fluent in a few languages helped. It made it easier to obtain the position I was seeking at the Shore Excursions department. Apart from dispatching tours in the morning and selling tickets in the evening, I would spend nearly every day on different trips. I did this a few years, spending half a year onboard and about two months at home. I enjoyed it immensely. I met fascinating people from all over the Globe and collected memories to last me a lifetime. Not to mention that I received a salary for seeing all those magnificent places the Earth has to offer! In an ideal world, everybody should live as they want. For me, that would translate into travel, then travel some more and keep travelling!

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57 Responses

  1. Jules says:

    Such a varied list of amazing Christmas treats! Some I’ve tried but some I’ve never heard of before.

  2. Ana says:

    These treats look amazing! Thank you for sharing all these delicious recipes with a little history lesson. Love learning about the origin of foods and the traditions that still exist today.

  3. Geeky Daddy says:

    That Barmbrack Bread from Ireland looks amazing! This was such a fun and interesting list.

  4. Jsrs says:

    Awesome selection, thank you for putting it together

  5. Jessie says:

    Excellent selection of around the world holiday sweet treats! I’m a big fan of stollen, but now I’m think of trying one of the others you featured! Great work!

  6. Emily Eden says:

    Love Stollen! But admittedly as a Brit who now lives in NYC, I’m happy I don’t have to pretend to enjoy them this year lol! Amazing Blog!

  7. Adriane says:

    The Seven Swans thing looks interesting. Great ideas!

  8. Sarah says:

    What a great idea! All of these look delicious and I would love to try every single one of them!

  9. Alex says:

    Those all seem to be delicious, but this year I will go with the Romanian Cozonac 🙂

    Thank you for sharing, Mihaela!

  10. Karletta says:

    These all look delicious. I would have trouble choosing … so I won’t. I’ll simply start from the top. Yum

  11. Jessica says:

    Those all look so yummy especially the buttercream cookies! I love buttercream.

  12. Gabriela Herrera says:

    I love this post. Food is just amazing, it brings us all together. Growing up food has always been at the center of everything my family did. This post is just so nostalgic especially in these times where social distancing is of upmost importance. Thank you so much for bringing me joy.

  13. Ok, I absolutely have to try the barmbrach bread & the rugelach! And only wish I could decorate my cookies that beautifully!

  14. CLARA says:

    Great holiday collections of dessert, thanks for including my sugar cookie truffles. Stollen is one of my holiday favorites, I get a loaf each year from our accountant.

  15. Paige says:

    All of these Christmas treats look delicious! I’ve spent the last couple Christmases in England, so I’ve definitely had my fair share of yummy mince pies!

  16. I love seeing these great ideas for Christmas. It makes me want to try them all. These would be the perfect addition to a Christmas date night.

  17. Jessica Elam says:

    All of these recipes look amazing! I definitely want to try some of them this season!

  18. How fascinating! I had heard of just of a few of these Christmas treats! Thanks for the sharing!

  19. This is a great post! I’ve never heard about most of these Christmas treats. RUGELASH looks delish, I might try to make it soon!

  20. Yum! Can’t wait to try making some of these.

  21. Wow! My mouth is watering with all these treats. I want to try all of them. Twelve days of Christmas style too. LOL

  22. I think this is so neat to have different tweets from different countries all in one place. I’m definitely saving for later!

  23. What a lovely post! Definitely some new recipes to try.

  24. I love trying foods from other countries! All of these treats look so yummy!
    Thank you so much for putting this post together. You did a fantastic job!

  25. Jill says:

    They all look so amazing!!

  26. Shala says:

    What an awesome idea for a post! Pinning this. Now I want some mince pies (I miss London and can’t wait to go back when the world opens up again!)

  27. I absolutely love how you put together this article – and thanks for sharing these great treats with us!

  28. I love it! You have an awesome round up of amazing recipes of must try Christmas treats.

  29. Christina says:

    These all look so amazing, I am really in the holiday baking mood, thanks for the inspiration!

  30. Robyn Jones says:

    It was very interesting learning about all of the traditional treats from around the world. I did a similar post about the origins of our Christmas traditions (in America), and it was such fun learning about how they came from other parts of the world. 🙂

  31. Kate says:

    This is an amazing list of Christmas treats and I love that they’re from all over the world!!! I really enjoyed learning the history and backstory of several of them!! I’ll definitely have to try some of these!

  32. Ana Ankeny says:

    Absolutely love this idea of treats from around the world for Christmas! This would be fun to incorporate into a family tradition with the kids each year!

  33. I love the recipes and the traditions behind all of them as well! Christmas is all about traditions and celebrating, and these recipes definitely add to the joy of Christmas. Thank you for putting this post together. 😊

  34. Leah says:

    Thank you so much for featuring my sugar plum fairy cookies!! ♥️ I can’t wait to check out these other Christmas desserts from around the world! Also, I never remember the order of the song either 😂 it’s still a fun one, though.

  35. Lindsay says:

    Thanks so much for sharing all of these amazing recipes and including my Keto Yule Log! I look forward to trying out all the great recipes! Happy holidays to all!

  36. Sue says:

    What a fabulous collection! I can’t wait to try them ALL!

  37. I absolutely love this post. So many delicious treats from so many amazing countries around the world. Now the hardest thing will be to decide which to try first! 😉

  38. Jeannie says:

    what a great list of mouth watering Christmas treats from around the world!

  1. December 5, 2020

    […] you haven’t had in a long time or have never had the pleasure of trying! Check it out here: Twelve Must-Try Christmas Treats From Around The World. She also has great content year-round on her blog, so make sure to […]

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