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Holiday Treat Traditions Around the World

When the holidays come around, it always seems as if there are treats galore! The stores quickly fill up with egg nog, wasail ingredients, and chocolate shaped into just about every shape imaginable. But this year, how about looking at the more traditional holiday treats to spice up your gatherings. By focusing on the traditional and meaningful instead of the gaudy and commercial, you may find that you introduce your family and friends to treats that they love to both eat and discuss.

In Austria, families traditionally spend Christmas Eve together, starting the evening with a church service. Following church, they gather for a traditional dinner. While their main course of Gebackener Karpfen, or fried carp, may not suit everyone’s fancy, their dessert of Sachertorte may indeed. Sachertore is a chocolate and apricot cake; the richness of the cake is determined by the depth and quality of the chocolate used. The cake is then frosted traditionally with chocolate frosting, creating a delectable treat for almost any palate.

When December 6th reaches Germany, they celebrate the evening with St. Nicholas coming to all the children. For the good children comes a shoe or boot full of delicious chocolates, cookies, and other treats. This just starts the holiday season. On Christmas Eve, each family member receives a plate of all kinds of treats, including fruit, nuts, marzipan, chocolate, and cookies. These treats are sure to bring sweet dreams for Christmas morning!

Mexico celebrates the holiday season with La Posadas, which marks the journey of Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Starting on December 16th, this celebration takes place each night with people going from door to door, singing traditional songs and asking for admittance for Mary. When the door is opened, everyone celebrates and the children enjoy the tradition of the piñata. The piñata is a brightly colored container made of either pottery (traditionally) or paper (in modern times) filled with all sorts of treats for the children. One by one, the children are blindfolded and try to hit the piñata with a stick. Finally, the piñata breaks and everyone celebrates by devouring the delicious candies and treats.

And in France comes probably one of the most indulgent treats, the sabots. Traditionally, the sabots were wooden shoes that the peasants wore. On Christmas Eve, the children would put their sabots in front of the fire in hopes that they would awaken to sabots filled with treats. In modern France, however, wooden shoes are obviously not as prevalent. Instead, sabots are made of chocolate by pastry shops and filled with all sorts of candies. Obviously, these are no longer set in front of the fire.

For your next holiday gathering, why not pick a traditional theme and impart both delicious food and knowledge upon your guests. They will in all likelihood be thrilled not to rehash the same tired holiday offerings.

About the Author: Jane S. Roseen is the Owner and President of Harmony Sweets, an international gourmet chocolate shop. Harmony Sweets' mission focuses on individual consumers purchasing gourmet chocolates from around the world for their friends and relatives, as well as corporate gift giving. Gourmet chocolate gift baskets and personalized chocolates are also available.


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