6 Irresistible Desserts You Need to Try From Around the World
Traveling elevates our senses. We see breathtaking landscapes, hear different languages, feel foreign fabrics, and most importantly, indulge in the aromas and flavors of heavenly desserts. Each country provides exceptionally sweet dishes that hold a history and this can give fantastic insight into the uniqueness of their cultures and people.
South America — Alfajores
Shortbread cookies and a dulce de leche filling team up to make this simple dessert that can be found everywhere in South America. The Spaniards brought it over from Spain when they conquered the continent, and it quickly became a distinguished cultural dish. Desserts began here with cookies consisting of dough rolled in dried fruit, nuts and sugar, but as cooking techniques were refined, tasty alternative styles began to emerge across South America. Each region has a slightly different version of alfajores and will claim that theirs is the original!
France — Crème Brûlée
Classic, romantic, and simple. This dessert is a perfect reflection of the Paris experience and the recipe was first recorded by the French in 1691. During the early years, crème brûlée was also referred to as “crème anglaise” or “burnt cream” in English. The bottom layer is a room-temperature set vanilla custard with a flame-hardened caramel shell on top. It’s unusual not to find this rich dessert on menus at most restaurants across the country.
Italy — Gelato
Bernardo Buontalenti is the talented individual who introduced the first creamy frozen gelato to the visiting King of Spain in Italy during the 1500s. Francesco Procopio Dei Coltelli then spread the gelato love across Europe and the tasty treat finally made its way to America in 1770. Gelato is smoother, creamier, and richer in texture in comparison to American ice cream because less air and fat is used in the production process.
South Africa — Amarula Chocolate Strawberries
Chocolate covered strawberries are a common delicacy, but this recipe is exceptional since the chocolate coating is made with a creamy liqueur from South Africa. Amarula is like Bailey’s on steroids with hints of mango, strawberry, caramel and vanilla swirled into its silky texture. The unique flavor comes from the fruit of an African marula tree (known locally as an elephant or marriage tree). It was first made into a liqueur in 1989, and is often enjoyed as a dessert drink on the rocks.
Egypt — Om Ali
If baklava and bread pudding had a baby, it would be Om Ali. This is a traditional Egyptian pudding-like dish that’s named after the mother of Ali, and the story behind the name isn’t one with a happy ending. Om Ali was married to a powerful ruler in Egypt, and when he died his second wife (Om Ali’s rival) ordered her to be killed. The rival wife arranged the cooks to create a dessert in Om Ali’s name to distribute throughout Egypt after the deed was done. Despite this sour ending, the sweet dessert prevailed and is a must have if you find yourself traveling to Egypt.
Thailand — Khanom Chan
Uniquely shaped and brightly colored, Khanom Chan is a sweet layered Thai dessert that will catch both your eyes and taste buds. Coconut and rice flour are the key ingredients in most recipes and other natural fruit flavors are added as well. It’s traditionally made with nine layers, which corresponds with the Thai belief that the number nine relates to success and prosperity.
Food for thought
Push boundaries, awaken your senses, and destress by trying desserts and dishes from other cultures. If it has a new smell or contains unbelievable ingredients, just sample it and at the very least you’ll leave with another great story to tell. You may be surprised to find you don’t have to travel far to find new foods and different cultures. So go explore, at home or abroad, because life’s too short to be picky about food!
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- 6 Irresistible Desserts You Need to Try From Around the World - October 13, 2015