It’s that time of year again: time to pile those blubbery winter layers on before the cold snap gets you! You won’t have any trouble doing that with our top picks of Europe’s most scrumptious Christmas treats. Read on for the stuff of yuletide dreams…
Give us any pastry and it won’t last longer than five minutes. Give us one of these little golden nuggets of wonder, and you won’t see us for dust. These doughy brioche-like babies are made with juicy raisins (sometimes cheekily soaked in rum) and saffron steeped in hot milk, making them the perfect Advent teatime treat. We can totally see why Sweden goes mad for them when December hits!
So, cabbage might not be the most exotic or glamorous of vegetables, but you won’t even notice when it’s brimming with spicy sauce and a meaty filling! A dish commonly eaten across all of Northern and Eastern Europe, töltött káposzta are made by wrapping delectable smoked ham and cornmeal with blanched or pickled cabbage leaves. The rolls are then braised in a wintry paprika-tomato sauce and slathered with sour cream for an indulgent little add-on – tasty!
Known as the croquembouche of southern Italy, these Neapolitan mini-doughnuts should be the centrepiece of every Christmas table! Tiny dough balls are deep-fried, coated in honey, and then arranged into an impressively-sized cone or wreath shape. If you’re a bit fancy, you might prefer more embellished versions of this sticky dessert, where it’s adorned with sprinkles, dragées, and candied fruits. Scrum-diddly-umptious!
Most foods powdered with sugar make for ideal Christmas noshing, and kruschiki are no exception. Also called angel wings, these twisted pastries are made with sour cream and are drizzled with rum to puff the pastry up to the max. If you can stand not going straight in for the kill, you can coat the whole things with icing sugar before serving. Their crunchy outer layer and pillowy soft centre are too irresistible not to try!
Forget candy canes, the only Christmas sweets you’ll need from now on are scrumptious slabs of turrón – giant blocks of nutty nougat made with sweet almonds and honey. Excuse us while we salivate. Turrón comes in many varieties, but the traditional recipe can either be made to a hard and crumbly consistency, or our favourite: fudgy and smooth. If you can’t get to Spain this Christmas, make your own with this recipe.
If you haven’t heard of these tasty morsels yet, let us bring you out of sweet-treat darkness. Speculaas are quaintly moulded spiced biscuits, with a more delicate flavour than gingerbread, and an addiction factor that can’t be put into words. If you can bear to share them, they make the perfect Christmas gifts, but judging by the size of our plump middles, giving’s looking pretty unlikely! It might be difficult to replicate that unique look and flavour, but you can get pretty close following this recipe.
Feeling a bit festive after reading this? Why not book a Euroventure interrailing trip to Lapland or to visit some real European Christmas markets and get a taste of the real thing?
Words by Karis Gumbs
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