Take a trip around the world for some of the most deliciously tempting Christmas-time favourites, and consider adding them to your table this Christmas for truly spectacular festive celebration!
What is it: A boiled sweet pudding, filled and flavoured with dried fruit and spices
Where: Originated in medieval England and remains popular in the UK
Why it’s spectacular: Just before it’s brought to the table, the pudding is doused in brandy and set on fire – watch as it goes up in bright blue flames! Thanks to the coating of brandy, the pudding itself doesn’t get burnt, but it makes for a great tableside spectacle.
Aside from the theatrics – the making of the pudding has its own intriguing tradition. Everyone gets a hand at stirring the mixture, during which they make a Christmas wish.
Tokens are also usually added into the mixture, and depending on what it is you find in your slice of pudding, you herald different things into the festive season (For example, a wishbone brings luck, while a silver coin brings wealth).
What is it: Two words: Christmas beer!
Why it’s spectacular: Julebyrg generally refers to beers specially produced for the festive season – one of the more popular varieties is Tuborg Julebyrg, the fourth best-selling beer in Denmark (easily recognised by its trademark blue and white packaging).
Tuborg Julebyrg is released every year on the first Friday of November for only 10 weeks, and the Danes love it. In fact, the annual launch is known as “J-day”, when free bottles of beer are distributed at bars by Carlsberg employees (since Carlsberg owns the brewery).
In case you were wondering what it tastes like: the beer is described as a “strong pilsner” with 5.6% alcohol by volume, dark-golden with a “fresh aroma of caramel, grain, liquorice and blackcurrant” – excellent with traditional Scandinavian Christmas fare such as smoked fish and meats.
What is it: A beverage made with milk, eggs, sugar and spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon. Alcohol is usually added, though there are non-alcoholic versions as well.
Where: USA, Canada
Why it’s spectacular: This festive drink is deliciously warm with spices (not to mention alcohol) – it makes for real comfort in a mug, perfect for celebrating Christmas with. However, the real testament to just how spectacular this beverage is can be found in the many different varieties of eggnog-inspired drinks around the world that are enjoyed during the Christmas period.
Some examples include the Puerto Rican Coquito (made with egg yolk, condensed milk, fresh coconut and milk; spiced up with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves; and spiked with a generous splash of rum), the Italian Zabaione (made with egg yolk, sugar, a sweet Marsala wine; whipped to form a custard and served with fresh berries or peaches in a glass); the German Eierpunsch (made with egg yolk, sugar, vanilla, white wine, cinnamon, cloves, strong tea and lemon juice) – and more around the world.
What is it: A confection typically made with sugar and almonds
Where: All over the world, featuring as a celebratory treat
Why it’s spectacular: Consider it an underrated festive treat that’s versatile and deliciously used as a decorative food, or as a special touch to any Christmas feast around the world.
In the UK, it’s common to have marzipan-covered Christmas fruitcakes, while in Germany, the traditional Stollen is a bread-like cake made with dried fruits, nuts, spices and marzipan while in Italy, the soft texture of marzipan lends itself well to being moulded into brightly coloured fruits – the confection has many more interpretations in different countries that makes it an indispensable Christmas treat.
Images: Corbis, Shutterstock