The festive season has begun and with it all the traditions. Gingerbread, chocolate, mince pies and candy canes are just a few treats which are eaten at Christmas time. Mentioned in Christmas carols and passed down through the generations, here are just some of the traditional Christmas treats from around Europe.
Turrón – Spain
Turrón is a traditional Spanish sweet; it’s made with honey and almonds to form nougat. Early versions of Turrón were made in the Arabic Peninsula; however during the 15th century it made its way over to Spain and was first thought to be created in Jijona. It’s now a tasty and classic treat eaten at Christmas time.
Panettone – Italy
Panettone is sweet bread packed with flavours and candied fruits. Originally from Milan, the bread was made using wheat, a pricey ingredient in the Middle Ages, therefore making it special compared to the ones eaten every day. This delicious dessert is now popular in not only Italy but all over Europe.
Mince Pies – Great Britain
Mince pies are made of a sweet pastry filled with mincemeat. Mincemeat is made of chopped fruit, spices and distilled spirits and originally meat. Dating back to Henry VIII’s court they have been a popular treat for hundreds of years. As they were traditionally made rectangular, it was thought to represent the manger Jesus was laid in. A rich treat full of flavour and spice.
Buche de Noel – France
Translated to a ‘Yule log’, it is a sponge cake baked in a tube shape and usually filled with chocolate butter cream. People traditionally burnt logs to cleanse the air of the previous year, as hearths became smaller, people started to make log shaped cakes instead. A delicious French treat, with an interesting history.
Basler Brunsli – Switzerland
These are specialties of Basel and our often described as ‘Swiss brownies’. Mainly flavoured with cloves and cinnamon, they have a very Christmassy taste. All though there is no exact date for when these goodies were created, they were mentioned as part of a welcome dinner for a priest in 1725. Make sure to try one of these, as they will be sold all around Basel.
By Sophia (MPY3)
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- “Chocolate Almond- Spice Cookies.” Saveur, http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/
- “The delicious history of the Yule log.” History, http://www.history.com/news/
- “From Medieval Christmas wheat breads to Panettone.” Flamigni, en.flamigni.it/
- “Mince Pie.” English Heritage, blog.english-heritage.org.uk/
- “Mince Pies.” BBC Good Food, http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1813664/mince-pies.
- “A tour of Europe in 10 Christmas desserts.” Opodo, http://www.opodo.co.uk/blog/