Christmas treats from around the world


Join us as we journey around the world with a sweet touch.

Christmas can be a magical time of year, but perhaps the most magical thing of all are the holiday traditions unique to each country. Some have pine trees festooned with gifts in their living room, some put up a dazzling array of lights to wow the senses, and some turn to festive music to set the mood. But perhaps something that is common the world over are the festive treats we roll out to celebrate the season. From crunchy sugar glazed goodies, to soul-warming hot wine, chocolate treats with exotic spices, marzipan munchies, and so much more, December is a great time to eat our way through the month, and we’ve rounded up some goodies from around the world for your viewing pleasure. Keep those spoons and forks at the ready.

Rum Cake

The ubiquitous rum cake, so popular in households during Christmas, is a Caribbean Christmas cake that can be traced back to traditional European fruit cakes. But as with all good things in life, a little booze makes a big difference. Throw some rum, wine, and dried fruit into the mix when making this cake, and you have yourself a tasty treat. The dried fruit is soaked in the rum for months before the preparation of the cake begins, with the dough prepped with caramelized sugar and then peppered with alcohol infused fruit. Found in Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines and even across Asia, drive away your glum this festive season with a slice of rum.


Not to be confused with Pavlovian experiments, this dessert originated in New Zealand and was named after an elegant Russian ballerina. It is a meringue-based cake with a crisp crust, marshmallow-like center, and topped with whipped cream and fruit. Equally popular in Australia, this dessert is a mouthful of light deliciousness perfectly in keeping with the season.

Bûche De Noël

When talking about baked goodies, how can one ignore the French? Also known as a yule log cake, Bûche de Noël dates back to the 19th century and is a very popular Christmas dessert in France, Quebec, and other former French colonies. It is made by baking a sponge cake in a shallow pan, frosting it, rolling it into a cylinder, and frosting it again. This gives the cake its distinctive log-like shape, with bakers then using bark like designs in the frosting to give it the appearance of a tree branch. Now there’s a bark we’d like to take a bite out of.

Pan De Pascua

Although a loose translation of this cake’s name is “Easter Bread”, Pascua (and Navidad) is used to refer to Christmas in Chile, where Pan De Pascua is a traditional Christmas treat. This light, sweet confection uses honey, ginger, and dried fruits and nuts ranging from almonds, walnuts, and candied fruits to raisins. This cake has become a Christmas staple after being brought to the country by German immigrants, and could well be the love-child of German Stollen and Italian panettone.


Not to be confused with the Goan Bebinca, Bibingka is a spongy Christmastime rice cake enjoyed in the Philippines as a breakfast food and a dessert. Made using rice flour and coconut milk, the variety of toppings used lend the dish flavour (no pun intended). Swapping out rice flour for other types of flour changes the character of the cake, allowing for endlessly versatile options. If you were to walk in the streets of the Philippines, you will see these cakes being sold outside churches during the festive season to holiday goers.


Just as the name is impossible to pronounce for non-natives, Szaloncukor is impossible to miss in Hungary as Christmas looms large. Think of chocolate covered, fondant candy wrapped in brightly wrapped paper that come in a range of flavours such as vanilla, strawberry, hazelnut, and coconut. They have even been hung as a decoration on Christmas trees, a tradition dating back to the 19th century. Children of all ages (including adults) are encouraged to eat the candies from the tree before the season is over. Don’t need to tell us twice.


Not too different from gingerbread, Lebkuchen is a German Christmas treat that can be either sweet or spicy, with common ingredients including honey, spices, and nuts. First conjured by monks in the 13th century, this cookie has become a symbol for the holiday season across Deutschland. Although generally on the softer side, there is also a firmer Lebkuchen made in heart-shaped versions. Oktoberfest’s regulars may recognize Lebkuchen hearts, and it is very common to see them dangling from the necks of dirndl-clad women during this festival.


The more eagle-eyed linguists among our readers would have instantly made out something about Vanilla in this next treat, and they’d be right. Loosely translated as ‘Vanilla Wreaths’, these very popular Danish butter cookies are the stuff of dreams. These delicious cookies are a Christmas staple in Denmark and prove flavour doesn’t need to be complex. These simple vanilla flavoured, slightly crispy cookies are a treat to have at any time, and they’re one of Denmark’s most famous exports, enjoyed by people all over the world. Excuse us while we go hunt down a box for ourselves.


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