I’m not French, but every year I swear I’m going to make a buche de noel for Christmas dinner. The francophile in me just can’t help but be charmed by that cute little yule log, bursting with marzipan mushrooms, coated in chocolate and raked to look like real tree bark. There are so many international Christmas treats worth adding to your holiday table–spiced Mexican hot chocolate swirled with cinnamon and served with lightly friend bunuelos cookies. Norwegian krumkake, a crispy wafer cone, were always a holiday treat when I was a kid; my aunt would churn out tons of them and serve them filled with whipped cream. My father’s Italian side of the family had their feast of the seven fishes, with shrimp and clams and lobster as far as the eye could see.
This year, I’m thinking about having a holiday party that features international Christmas treats. A hearty Quebecoise meat pie, some mulled wine, and an insane amount of sweet delights would be the stars of the show since they top the traditional foods category. Puffy bowties from Poland, the aforementioned buche de noel from France, and sweet saffron buns from Sweden would round out the meal nicely. In reality, I’ll probably only tackle one of these foods, but I love the idea of celebrating an international Christmas with my friends, many of whom come from far-flung places with their own special traditions. Wait. Light bulb flash! I’ll turn my party into a potluck, where everyone brings a dish from their homeland. That way I get to taste all the treats without doing all that work all by myself. I’ll need to get my own krumkake iron–it’s high time I started to teach my toddler daughter about holiday traditions, isnt it?