A Christmas feast is made all the more delicious when you add a global influence, and these will certainly hit the spot. Try out one of these Christmas foods from around the world and make your table laden with festively international joy.
1. Lebkuchen – Germany
Lebkuchen is Germany’s answer to gingerbread, delicately flavoured with honey and a mix of spices. It’s often coated in sugar and crushed nuts, taking the flavours anywhere from sweet to spicy. You’ll see these beauties hanging in German market stalls around Christmas time, though they’re just as good in your belly. Try your hand at this recipe from SBS Food.
2. Buche de Noel – France
Literally translating to ‘yule log’, this is a dessert inspired by logs of wood crackling in the fireplace – and fortunately for our tastebuds, it’s so much tastier. A chocolate sponge cake is filled with caramel cream and usually covered in chocolate, though you can go the Martha route and try her lifelike recipe (including wood grain detailing, made from fondant. Drooling.)
3. Fruit Mince Tarts – England
Also an Aussie staple, fruit mince pies are a sweet shortcrust pastry pie filled with a minced confection of dried fruits and a dash of brandy. If you’ve got a handle on shortcrust pastry, you can easily make this – do yourself a favour and make the pastry from scratch. Australia’s culinary queen, Maggie Beer, has an easy and delish recipe for your Christmas pantry.
4. Vanillekipferl – Austria
You’ll recognise these biscuits, even if you don’t recognise the name. Vanillekipferi are the iconic Austrian biscuits: crescent-shaped, nut-flavoured and dusted in lashings of icing sugar. According to the expats behind Li’l Vienna, walnuts are the traditional nut, though you can substitute for almond meal in a pinch. Check out their authentic recipe for your dose of traditional Christmas sweetness.
5. Pan de Pascua – Chile
I have vivid memories of growing up eating pan de pascua, where every December my nana would reach into a cupboard and pull out her coveted Christmas fruit cake. I’d eat mine slathered in butter, while my father and cousins would happily swallow the whole cake at once if they could. Pan de pascua is a bit of a shock if you’re used to moist Christmas puddings – think along the lines of panettone and you’re almost there. En Mi Cocina Hoy has a fabulous recipe which also includes dulce de leche (or manjar if you want to be truly Chilean).
6. KFC Fried Chicken – Japan
Somewhere, a KFC ad exec is rolling in millions. After a successful campaign back in the 70s, KFC became the Christmas food of choice for Japanese families – so much so that if you want your bucket of Southern-fried goodness, you need to place an order two months in advance. No recipe here, just go down to your local KFC and order your special.
7. Bacalao – Mexico
Salted, dried cod is the star of this Mexican dish, which are in abundance in Mexican markets around the festive season. You can pick yours up from a deli – from there, it’s all about flavour. Bacalao is almost a stew, stuffed with olives, super-ripe tomatoes, onion, chilli and rice or potato. Sprinkle with parsley and you’ll have a hearty feed which, when paired with crusty bread, is simply divine. Try this recipe from The Mija Chronicles, tried and tested from a variety of authentic Mexican recipes.
8. Hallaca – Venezuela
Think of Hallacas as the Latin American version of dumplings: meat mixed with a variety of yummies is wrapped in cornmeal dough, then folded in a plantain leaf, tied with string and boiled. It’s absolutely delicious, and you can pair any sort of meat with the traditional sultana-and-onion mix. Chuky Reyna gave her family’s secret recipe to Qué Más, and it’s apparently one of the best recipes you’ll have on your Christmas table. (Word to the wise? It’s pronounced hajacas.)
9. White Christmas – Australia
As a child, you knew that the Copha being brought out at Christmas meant only one thing: White Christmas slice. Rice bubbles, coconut, glace cherries, almonds, and sultanas are all combined in a delicious sweet base, then cut into squares for snacking (or, indulgent feasting if you opt for a few slices at once). This recipe from Taste actually eschews the more traditional Copha and powdered milk for something far easier, white chocolate.
10. Tourtière – Canada
A spiced meat pie in a flaky, buttery crust, this pie is the way Canadians get the smell of Christmas wafting around their homes. This is a recipe which requires plenty of love and a bit of patience, so we recommend giving The Fiesty Chef’s recipe a go.
Related article: The 6 Best Locations Across the Globe to Spend Christmas