European Christmas sweets every expat should try!
December 2, 2016
Christmas is around the corner and it is time to get ready for the celebrations! Have you already thought about your Christmas menu? As an expatriate, you might have to adjust some of your Christmas habits to your new surroundings, as some Christmas food can be hard to find. Maybe, you are lucky to find your traditional Christmas products, but you just feel like trying new Christmas dishes. In any case, if you need a bit of international inspiration, we suggest you some of the best – in our opinion- Christmas sweets in Europe. Enjoy them!
1) Strollen and lebkuchen
Have you been in any German Christmas market and seen some brownish hearts hanging from stalls? Exactly, with different words written. Then, you already know the lebkuchen, one of the most famous traditional Christmas sweets in Germany. Lebkuchen can appear in different shapes and tastes (it can be also spicy!), textures (the ones in fairs are quite hard but commonly they are soft) and use a variety of ingredients.
However, Germans have much more Christmas sweets than the lebkuchen. Christmas stollen is another food that you will find on every German table during Christmas (and also in Austria). Thought to have its origins in Dresden, it is said that the stollen represents Jesus, covered in swaddling clothes. True or not, Germans love stollen, which it is made with nuts, dried fruits, raisins, and typical Christmas spices.
2) Panettone and other Italian bread
Typical from Milan, the panettone - which comes from the Italian word pane, meaning bread -can be found nowadays in many places in Europe. It consists of a dough to which candied orange, lemon zest and raisins are added. What it is really special is its shape, which looks like a kind of crown. According to the legend, the cake was created in the sixteen century when an Italian baker fell in love with a princess and he created a cake for her.
Despite being panettone the most famous Italian Christmas cake (or bread), other Italian regions have their own ones, such as the panforte from Siena or the pandolce from Genova.
3) Turrones - Spain's most well-known Christmas sweet
Christmas is one of the most important festivities in the Spanish calendar when families gather around a table and enjoy mouth-watering dishes and desserts.
Among the desserts, one of the most famous ones is turrón, a sweet dough made from honey, almonds and eggs, similar to the French nougat. You can find it in plenty of versions (with chocolate, fruits, coconut, pistachio…), however, the most traditional ones are turrón de Alicante (also called hard turrón) and turrón de Jijona (also called soft turrón).
Other typical Spanish Christmas desserts are polvorones (an oval-shaped shortbread covered with icing sugar), alfajores and roscos de vino.