Christmas bakes

Tired of the traditional mince pies and Christmas pudding? Why not tempt your friends and family this Christmas with one of these festive bakes?

Written by Bradt Travel Guides


Tired of the traditional mince pies and Christmas pudding? Why not tempt your friends and family this Christmas with something a little different … 

Pan de jamón, Venezuela

Pan de jamon Venezuela by tuti, Wikimedia Commons© tuti, Wikimedia Commons

Christmas for Venezuelans is all about eating, and the big family meal is a real blowout, eaten late. Pan de jamón, a soft rolled bread stuffed with ham and raisins, is an essential part of any Christmas meal.

Le craquelin, France

Craquelin France by Nord Pas de Calais© Nord Pas de Calais Tourisme

Le craquelin, a Christmas speciality in Boulogne and Étaples, consists of a lightly sweetened flaky pastry figure-of-eight, and is normally served warm with a cup of kirsch-laced hot chocolate. Yummy.

Cesnica, Serbia

Cesnica Christmas bread Serbia by Ivana Lalicki Shutterstock© Ivana Lalicki, Shutterstock

The Christmas meal in Serbia usually consists of roast piglet and the sweet ground wheat koljivo, but the most important item on the table is česnica, a special loaf that contains a coin. Whoever gets the coin is considered to be especially lucky for the forthcoming year.

Pandolce, Liguria, Italy

Pandolce Genoa Liguria by Quanthem, Shutterstock© Quanthem, Shutterstock

The flagship pandolce is a round cake full of pine nuts, raisins, candied fruit, fennel seeds and crushed pistachios, flavoured with orange flower water. Traditionally eaten at Christmas, it is served by the youngest member of the house and cut by the oldest. It was inspired by cakes that the Genoese ate in the Middle East and it in turn inspired English visitors in the 19th century who turned it into Genoa cake back home in England.

Pizzelle, Abruzzo, Italy

Pizzelle Abruzzo Christmas biscuit by © Steve Snodgrass, Wikimedia Commons© Steve Snodgrass, Wikimedia Commons

Pizzelle, essentially sweet wafers, go by different names in various parts of Abruzzo (neolenevoleferratellecancellate). Whatever they’re called, they are the most traditional of Abruzzese sweets, and are very popular at Christmas. The soft dough is made from eggs, flour, water and sugar and is spooned onto a patterned waffle iron then squashed between the two hot plates. The resulting pizzelle is then left to cool and can be served plain or with jam or Nutella.

And, to wash it all down, why not try one of these Christmassy tipples?

Cola de mono, Chile

Cola de mono Chile by quinne, Wikimedia Commons
© quinne, Wikimedia Commons

This traditional Chilean drink is typically served during the festive season, and is quite similar to the tradition of serving eggnog in the West. Made from aguardiente (firewater), milk, sugar, coffee and cloves, it is not dissimilar to a White Russian. 

Sorrel, Dominica

Sorrel hibiscus tea Dominica by stockfoto, Shutterstock© stockfoto, Shutterstock

Sorrel, known in some parts of the Caribbean as hibiscus tea, is a delicious drink, usually available around the festive season in Dominica. It is made from the sepals of the sorrel flower (Hibiscus Sabdariffa) and is fruity and fragrant. It is also served as a warm, spiced tea or as a wine, and tastes rather like a European Christmas mulled wine.

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