Everyone loves a good dessert, even if you don’t have a sweet tooth. All around the world, different cultures have developed their own desserts to culminate the end of a satisfying meal, oftentimes reflecting the best of culinary flavors of the region.
Whether you’re relaxing by a café in Paris or looking for something sweet in Barcelona, satisfying your sweet tooth is quite possible with these delectable desserts from around the world.
French chocolate soufflé
When it comes to dessert, perhaps no other country has perfected it more than France. After all, this is the country that has given the world delectable croissants, delicious macaroons and some of the most fantastic gastronomic delights ever. Chocolate soufflé is one of the most difficult desserts to make, but is made with the basic ingredients of eggs, sugar and chocolate. It must be served immediately to enjoy the cloud life texture of the delicious dessert.
During the holiday season, the French take it up a notch by serving a Buche de Noel, or a Christmas log. It is a yellow sponge cake filled with chocolate butter cream and is served with powered sugar made to resemble snow.
We often think of waffles as something eaten for breakfast, but in Belgium, this is their most popular dessert. It is best eaten with fruit, whipped cream and of course, Belgian chocolate. The three variants of waffles as Brussels waffles (which is the waffle westerners are familiar with), the Liege waffle (made of brioche bread) and the stroopwafel (a crispier version).
Gelato means “frozen” in Latin (from the root word gelatus), but everyone around the world knows that this is Italy’s answer to ice cream. This frozen treat is made of milk, sugar, fruit and even nut purees. Unlike ice cram, there is little air incorporated into the milk mixture, resulting in a dessert that is denser and more flavorful than ice cream. It is believed that gelato dates back to the 16th century when Florentine architect Bernardo Buontalenti first offered this treat to the Royals Court of Caterina de Medici. The first gelato cart was seen in the city of Varese in the 1920s and its popularity has spread since then.
Kolache from the Czech Republic
This pastry is a sweet roll with prune, poppyseed and fruit filling and is served by the Czechs and Slovaks during weddings. The name of the dish is of Macedonian origin meaning “small cookie”.
All American apple pie
Since the 19th century, no other dessert has been associated with the United States as much as apple pie. It has come to represent prosperity and is a matter of national pride. This fruit pie uses apples and cinnamon as its main ingredient and can be served with whipped cream, grated cheese or a la mode with vanilla ice cream. Some form of apple tarts and pies were baked and served even before the Europeans arrived in the New World, although this dessert is believed to have been brought over by the Pilgrims. It gained tremendous popularity in the colonies, especially in Delaware, where many English immigrants settled.
On the streets of Cairo, travelers can find basbousa, a cake made of semolina flour soaked in syrup and is served with lime curd, berries and whipped cream. Coconut is also sometimes used. Aside from being a popular dessert, basbousa is also popularly eaten during the Lenten season since it has no animal products.
Basbousa is served in many Eastern Mediterranean counties. It is more popularly known as malmounia in Egypt, while in Greece, it is called revani. In Jordan and Alexandria, it is known as hareesa. The people of Kuwait call it pastusha and add pistachios and orange flower water to the dish.
Grains, fruits and nuts make up asure, or Noah’s pudding. It is believed that when Noah’s ark rested on Mount Ararat, they cooked a pudding that is now known as asure. This pudding is considered a dessert and at the same time, it is eaten during the Muharren, which is the first month of the Islamic calendar. Unlike other Turkish desserts, asure is a vegan dish. It can be made with seven or ten ingredients, including chickpeas, sugar, rice, beans and wheat. When this is made, large batches of the pudding are cooked and shared, with the intention of praying of good health, safety and success.
Indian gulab jamun
This dessert is made of dough made of milk and flour that has been deep fried and soaked in sweet syrup and flavored with saffron, rosewater and cardamom seeds. It is a celebratory dessert often made during special occasions.
Served during the holidays and the winter solstice, this dessert is made of colorful and glutinous rice balls that are filled with peanut, sesame and red bean pastes, oftentimes served in sweet broth made of rock sugar and ginger.
Venezuelan Brazo Gitano
This is Venezuela’s answer to the Swiss roll or the Jelly roll. This sponge cake is made of cream, berry jam, or sometimes coffee or chocolate. It is frosted with icing and filled with chocolate merengue and dusted with confectioners sugar. This rolled cake is similar to Brazil’s rocambole and Peru’s pionono, while in Chile, this is called Queen.
Finland has a similar dessert called kaaretorttu, while in France, this is called gateau roule. In Hungary, their version of the jelly roll is called lekvaros tekercs, while in Sweden, they serve rultarta during their coffee break.
TRIVIA: Stressed when read backwards is DESSERTS. So, relax and have your desserts now!