"Gingerbread has been baked in Europe since the eleventh century. In some places, it was a soft, delicately spiced cake; in others, a crisp, flat cookie, and in others, warm, thick, dark squares of "bread." It was sometimes light, sometimes dark, sometimes sweet, sometimes spicy, but almost always cut into shapes such people or animals, and colorfully decorated or stamped with a mold and dusted with sugar. The tradition of gingerbread making in North America arrived with the many settlers from Northern Europe who brought with them family recipes..." – Ultimate Gingerbread
Atole is a hot, masa-based beverage that is a traditional drink of the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead while the chocolate version, champurrado, is popular at Christmastime. The consistency of this street food favorite varies between porridge-like thickness to a thin, pourable drink.
This classic Italian-American seafood stew has roots in San Francisco and was prominently featured on The Next Iron Chef when chef-contestant Elizabeth Falkner of SF's own Citizen Cake and Orson prepared it during the final cooking battle for best Christmas feast. The name comes from ciuppin, an Italian word in the Ligurian dialect of the port city of Genoa, meaning "to chop" or "chopped" which described the process of making the stew by chopping up various leftovers of the day's catch.
Bigos, known as Hunter's Stew, is the national dish of Poland. Its hearty mix of meats and sausages slowly braised over sauerkraut, mushrooms and cabbage not only makes it an obvious cold weather favorite but provided a practical solution to using up cabbage before winter set in in Poland. Bigos is a favorite meal for the day after Christmas and is also popular in Lithuania and Belarus.
5. DRESDNER STOLLEN (Germany)
This traditional German Christmas fruitcake goes by many names: Stollen, Dresden Stollen, Strutzel, Striezel, Stutenbrot, or Christstollen. It is made from a rich yeast dough mixed with nuts, candied fruits, spices, liquor and lots of butter, and is sold throughout Germany during the Christmas holiday season. The white icing sugar-covered loaves are said to symbolize baby Jesus wrapped in diapers.
Traditionally, the recipe for eggnog calls for eggs beaten with sugar, milk or cream, spices and some kind of spirit. (Eggnog literally means eggs inside a small cup.) While this rich and creamy beverage is associated with winter celebrations like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year celebrations in the US and Canada, non-alcoholic versions are available year-round. It's not surprising, then, to find it as a flavor in other foods. Doughnuts, for example...
Lefse is a traditional soft, Norwegian flatbread made out of potato, flour, milk or cream (sometimes lard) and cooked on a griddle. Adding butter to lefse and rolling it up is the most common way to serve it while others sprinkle on cinnamon and sugar, or spread on jelly or lingonberries. Scandinavian-American variations include rolling lefse with ingredients such as peanut butter, sugar, corn syrup or savory additions, like ham and eggs. This versatile treat is especially popular around Thanksgiving and Christmas, but we'd totally eat it year-round.
Æbleskiver are Danish pancakes with a distinctive ball shape and commonly served before Christmas in Denmark. Though not sweet themselves, they are served filled or dipped in raspberry, strawberry, lingonberry or blackberry jam, and sprinkled with powdered sugar.
Pan de jamón is a traditional Venezuelan Christmas bread comprised of sweet, soft dough rolled up around savory ham, sweet raisins and pimento-stuffed olives. Most families wouldn't even think of having the holiday go by without pan de jamón on their table.
"The tourtiere is a savory, spiced meat pie, which both French- and English-speaking Canadians love to serve around the holidays. The pie is so beloved in Canada that it has spread far beyond Quebec. Along the coast, it's made with salmon. There's a ground pork version in Montreal, while some in Quebec City prefer game meats. Even within a family you might find different recipes. One thing that's usually the same is the four spices: cinnamon, clove, allspice and nutmeg. But the first step in creating a perfect tourtiere is to make a buttery, flaky pastry shell..." – NPR
So there you have it: 10 holiday dishes from around the world. What other foods do you love to eat at this time of year? Which ones listed above have you tried?
(While we love holiday dishes, this post could not have happened without the wealth of information found on sites like Wikipedia and what4eats.)