the gourmet edit
My go-to recipe every festive season is peppermint bark. It’s quick and easy to make and always impresses the masses.
- 8 small peppermint candy canes
- 250g milk chocolate
- 250g white chocolate
Line a medium-sized tray with baking paper and set aside. Using a rolling pin, crush the candy canes, while still in their plastic packaging. Once they are all crushed to a relatively fine consistency, set aside.
Put the milk chocolate in a microwave-proof dish and melt in the microwave on a high heat, stirring every 30 seconds. Once completely melted, pour the chocolate into the prepared tray, smooth with the back of a spoon, and place in the fridge to set.
Melt the white chocolate using the same method as mentioned earlier, and pour on top of the milk chocolate, spreading with a spoon until smooth. Cut the ends off the candy cane packaging and sprinkle over the white chocolate. Then place in the fridge to set.
Once completely set, carefully cut into squares. Keep in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
You can use regular sized candy canes or hard boiled lollies. I use the small candy canes as you can crush them in the packaging and sprinkle without creating a mess.
Festive foodie traditions
GERMANY: Stollen is fruit cake dusted with icing sugar which is eaten during the Christmas season, called Weihnachtsstollen or Christstollen.
CANADA: Many families have cookie exchanging parties where everyone brings a recipe and they bake together. Everyone then goes home with a mixed batch of cookies.
POLAND: Borscht (beetroot soup) is served as a starter on Christmas Eve.
CHINA: People give ‘peace apples’ on Christmas Eve because the word for Christmas Eve, píng’ān yè, sounds very similar to the word for apple, píngguǒ.
SWEDEN: The main feast, Julbord, happens on Christmas Eve, which is a buffet of pickled herring, gravlax (raw cured salmon), paté, knäckebröd (crispbread), ham, meatballs with beetroot salad and lutfisk (preserved cod).
FRANCE: Families have their Christmas meal, le réveillon de Noël, on Christmas Eve after the late Christmas mass service and for dessert they eat Bûche de Noël (chocolate log).
DENMARK: Ris á la mande (rice pudding) is served for dessert on Christmas Day. One whole almond is hidden in the pudding and whoever finds it receives a present.
RUSSIA: Some people choose to fast for 40 days before Christmas, which they celebrate on 7 January. To end the fast, they eat sochivo (porridge), which symbolises unity. They also throw a spoonful of the porridge onto the ceiling and if it sticks, it means good luck and a good harvest for the family.
SPAIN: Jamón (dry-cured ham) is traditionally served for dinner and turrón (nougat) is served for dessert.
Flavour trends for 2018
- It will be more common to enjoy the most important meal of the day, at any time of day – bacon and eggs for dinner and waffles for dessert? Sounds like a crowd-pleaser to me
- Dehydrated fruits will make a big comeback
- Fermented foods will become even more popular, as people pay more attention to their digestive system, gut health and good bacteria