Take a look at the food around you. All the flavours of Sydney hail from across the globe – and Christmas is no exception! Celebrate our multiculturalism by bringing exotic festivity into your holiday meal.

For a taste of what could be, here’s a snapshot of choices from all over virtual and physical Sydney for you to embrace the world:

Abla’s Pastries Baklava

Baklava from Abla's Pastries at Christmas

Inspiration:
Lebanon

What it is:
A sweet filo pastry filled with chopped nuts and either sweetened syrup or honey.

About it:
This is also popular in other countries like Greece, where it’s made with 33 layers of dough. This supposedly refers to the years of Christ’s life. There’s also evidence pointing to the ‘baklava’ originating from the imperialkitchens of the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, while the cooking method was based on a Central Asian Turkic tradition of layered breads.

Where you can find it:
Abla’s Pastries $(your pick from pastries)
48-52 Railway Parade
Granville, NSW
(02) 9637 8092
Abla's Pastries on Urbanspoon
 

Baitz Anisette

Inspiration:
Haiti

What it is:
Slightly alcoholic drink made by soaking anise leaves (where the star anise spice comes from) with rum and sweetening it with sugar.

About it:
Children of all ages are allowed to drink ‘anisette’ in Haiti, and children are customarily allowed to go out until the early morning! The older children are tasked with looking after the smaller children, and houses will have all lights on until around 3am to welcome them back. What a carefree tradition!

Where you can find it:
Vintage Direct – Nick’s Wine Merchant’s Wine and Spirit Guide $24.99
 

Beigli House Poppy Seed Beigli

Hungarian beigli - christmas

Inspiration:
Hungary

What it is:
A rolled up pastry crust with a rich, bittersweet filling of poppy seed.

About it:
There are very few Hungarian Christmas sweets and pastries. Generally, only the ‘beigli’ is served and is eaten with fruit wines, like red currant wine. What’s more, children in Hungary leave their shoes or boots on the windowsill for presents instead of the more well-known stockings by the fireplace!

Where you can find it:
Beigli House $15+postage and handling

Celebre Glazed lebkuchen

Aldi's glazed Lebkuchen biscuits

Inspiration:
Germany

What it is:
Spiced biscuits that resemble gingerbread. They come in a range of sweet to spicy, and a variety of shapes. The glazed lebkuchen is a spiced biscuit with a dark chocolate base and sugar glaze.

About it:
Invented by monks in 13th century Germany, local history connects it to the emperor Friedrich III who invited close to 4000 children to a special event where he gave away ‘lebkuchen’ decorated with his portrait.

Where you can find it:
Aldi $3.99

Choco Cannelle Bûche de Noël

Inspiration:
Belgium, France

What it is:
A chocolate Christmas Log made of sponge roll layered with cream, it is also called a Yule Log. The outside is made to appear like a bark-covered log, by dragging a fork across the chocolate butter cream icing.

About it:
The recipe for this dates back as far as medieval Europe’s Iron Age, with records indicating that people would gather to eat ‘la Bûche de Noël as a celebration of the Winter Solstice. To relive the last year’s events, and to welcome the New Year, families would burn logs garnished in ivy, holly, or pinecones. This tradition moved onto the plates of the Christmas meal.

Where you can find it:
Choco Cannelle
Shop 1 No 2 Callaghan St
Ryde, NSW
(02) 9878 5346
 

Herbie’s Brazilian Spice Blend

Herbie's brazilian churrasco spice mix

Inspiration:
Brazil

What it is:
A blend of paprika, ginger, salt, garlic, onion, cumin, coriander seed, coriander leaf, allspice, cinnamon, pepper, and chilli. Perfect for ‘churrasco’!

About it:
‘Churrasco’ is a barbeque consisting of a variety of seasoned grilled meats, traditionally enjoyed in Brazil on Christmas Eve. In a traditional ‘churrascaria’, which specialises in ‘churrasco’, the food is served ‘espeto corrido’ or rodizio’. This means waiters move around the restaurant with skewers, slicing meat onto people’s plates.

Where you can find it:
Herbie’s $3.95

KFCフライドチキン (furaidochikin)

Christmas in Japan - KFC

Inspiration:
Japan

What it is:
Yes. KFC. Fried Chicken.

About it:
This didn’t originate from Japan, but because the turkey as a dish is practically nonexistent in Japan, KFC fried chicken is enormously popular as a Christmas dish – so celebrated that orders have to be made up to two months in advance!

Where you can find it:
KFC $(however much you’d like to buy)

Le Patissier Chocolatier Sacher Torte

Inspiration:
Austria

What it is:
A chocolate sponge cake composed with apricot jam and dark chocolate icing.

About it:
The main dessert served for the Christmas meal, ‘sacher torte’, was created in 1832, where the Prince Wenzel von Metternich asked his personal chef to create a special dessert for some important guests. That chef actually fell ill, and this iconic dessert was really made by 16 year old Franz Sacher. Talk about talent.

Where you can find it:
Le Patissier Chocolatier
1/121-123 Military Rd
Neutral Bay, NSW
(02) 9953 8550

Jambo Jambo Injera

Inspiration:
Ethiopia

What it is:
A yeast-risen flatbread with a unique, slightly spongy texture. Traditionally made with teff flour, it’s Ethiopia’s national dish.

About it:
‘Injera’ is classically used as an edible plate and scoop for ‘wat’, which is a thick and spicy stew made with meat, vegetables and sometimes eggs. Together, they make form the base of a traditional Christmas meal.

Where you can find it:
Jambo Jambo African Restaurant
Shop 16, Plaza 103-111 Willoughby Rd
Crows Nest, NSW
(02) 9439 3277
Jambo Jambo African Restaurant on Urbanspoon
 

San Churro’s Hot Chocolate

Inspiration:
Spain

What it is:
With gift packs from $11.90, our pick is the large hamper ($79.95), a beautifully boxed gift pack of authentic Spanish products including cubitos (truffle cubes), catanies (caramelised almonds in chocolate praline), traditional hot chocolate and couverture chocolate blocks. We’ve got three of these to giveaway! Enter by re-posting the image below on your Instagram, then tag #SpanishXmas and follow @IAteMyWayThru and @SanChurro_AU! Winners will be drawn at random on this Thursday, 5pm AEST.

San churro chocolate - Christmas giveaway

About it:
Legend follows that ‘xocolatl’ was brought from the Aztecs to Spain, where the King loved it so much he decreed it only for the nobility. Only the Spanish monks were entrusted with the secrets of chocolate. This was until a monk offered a cup of hot chocolate to a gravely ill Queen of Spain, with which she was miraculously reinvigorated and brought to life! This monk then declared that chocolate was a gift from the Gods and must be shared with everyone. His name was San Churro. Chocolate is a food that the Spanish cannot go a day without – including Christmas!

Where you can find it:
San Churros $79.95

Simon Johnson Panettone

Inspiration:
Italy

What it is:
A sweet bread loaf that is filled with fruit – usually raisins.

About it:
It began with two enterprising Italian bakers in Milan who competed by cooking large amounts of ‘panettone’. The competition was so fierce that, by the end of World War II, it was affordable for everyone and became Italy’s leading Christmas dessert cake.

Where you can find it:
Simon Johnson $49.50

Sunrite Ackee

Inspiration:
Jamaica

What it is:
A fruit that belongs to the same family as the lychee and longan. When ripe, it changes from green to bright red to yellow orange, and splits open. It will reveal soft, creamy or spongy flesh surrounding three large, shiny black seeds.

About it:
‘Ackee’ is the national fruit of Jamica, and ‘ackee and saltfish’ is their national dish. In the National Geographic Survey of National Dishes, the dish ‘ackee and codfis’ is ranked second.

Where you can find it:
Jamiacan Products $18.50

Tetsuya Vinaigrette for Oysters

Inspiration:
Japan

What it is:
A balance of olive oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, grated ginger and sugar made to be served with fresh oysters.

About it:
‘Vinaigrette’ comes from the French word ‘vinaigre’, often translated in British English as ‘sour wine’. Add an Asian twist to your seafood spread with this luxurious condiment.

Where you can find it:
David Jones and selected gourmet stores, $14.95

Victoire Galette Des Rois

Inspiration:
France

What it is:
A multi-layered puff pastry cake filled with a layer of either brioche or almond frangipane. It customarily contains a toy crown inside and is topped with a decorative gold paper crown.

About it:
An iconic French pastry that has been eaten since the Middle Ages, the ‘Galette des Rois’ (King’s Cake) is eaten in celebration of the ‘Epiphany’, when the Three Kings visited the baby Jesus – hence the crowns.

Where you can find it:
Victoire
660 Darling St
Rozelle, NSW
(02) 9810 5020

Wilton Gingerbread Cookie Cottage Kit

Inspiration:
Armenia, England, Germany, Sweden

What it is:
A house made from gingerbread, which is sweet and typically has ginger, honey, or treacle flavours.

About it:
The people of Bergen, Norway, have a tradition of building gingerbread houses every year for Christmas, known as ‘pepperkakebyen’ (gingerbread city).

Get it from:
David Jones $29.95

Go on, put a cultural twist on your Christmas!