Bao Bing: the sweet treat that has been cool for more than 1,000 years

When Richard Nixon visited Beijing in 1972, he ate shaved ice, locally know as bao bing, with Mao Zedong during a state dinner. Bao bing (pronounced bow-BING) has been a ubiquitous part of Asian cuisine for hundreds of years, and it’s been traced back to China as early as the seventh century A.D. There is nothing more cooling in the heat of summer than enjoying into an ice-based dessert. Made with thin sheets of ice covered in sweet, Southeast Asian toppings, bao bing is as visually stunning to first-time tasters.…

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#13 Cuccía: a Sicilian tradition on Saint Lucy’s day

On the calendar, December 13th appears a day like any other, but in Sicily many are waiting for this date. The day of Saint Lucy (also celebrated in other parts of the world) is in fact one of the most awaited (minor) holidays by the Sicilians, and above all by the Palermo people. For devotion, of course, but above all for gluttony, and the cuccìa that certainly cannot miss. Large excluded: flour products.  The origin of this custom remains disputed between the cities of Palermo and Syracuse, where Lucy also…

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10# Struffoli: Neapolitan Christmas Tradition

Of the many pastries and dishes that Italy has gifted to the world, the Neapolitan delicacy known as struffoli are the quintessential festive dessert on Neapolitan tables and for Italian-American families alike. They originated in Napoli, the capital of the region of Campania, and dates back to the time of the ancient Greeks who once ruled the port city. And then the Romans have adapted the recipe into their own version, stuffing the dough balls with candied fruits and chopped almonds. It seems the name struffoli comes from the Greek…

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8# The delicious history of the Yule Log Cake – or bûche de Noël

Paris at Christmastime is heaven for sweet tooth. Even if, patisseries on virtually every street corner is attractive at any time of year, there’s something magical about windows packed with elaborately decorated little logs. I discovered that few French people celebrate Christmas without one of these Yule log cake, known also as bûche de Noël, a Christmas cake with a ritualistic and interesting past. Cleverly shaped and decorated to look like a 3-D little log, the cake represents a melding of ancient midwinter traditions: one that celebrated the end of…

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The Canadian Potato Museum~

Here we are: Many people visit Canada’s Prince Edward Island because they are passionate about literature. The island, in fact, was the setting of the beloved Anne of Green Gables novels. However, for people less inclined toward tracing the footsteps of the fictional Anne Shirley, the western end of the island offers a more down-to-earth experience, as the town of O’Leary is the home of the Canadian Potato Museum. Open from mid-May to mid-October, the museum showcases the local potato industry and sports the “world’s largest exhibits of potato-related farm…

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Kouign-Amann: one of the fattiest pastry in the world.

Here we are: French culinary traditions are a never-ending story and every town boasts of their own tasty specialties. The north-western tip of France, bathed with cold waves of the Atlantic ocean, belongs to Brittany: Bretons are proudly different from the rest of France, have their own language, customs and favorite foods. Slightly salted butter plays a key role in their cuisine. Kouign-amann is one of the first examples of Breton flavors. Some Bretons claim that their creation treat is the fattiest pastry in the world, and I fear that…

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Mizu Shingen Mochi: it looks like a water drop but it is in reality a Japanese cake!

Its name is Mizu Shingen Mochi and it’s one of the most curious Japanese specialities. This unusual rice cake looks like a giant drop of water and its life is just 30 minutes, once pulled out of its mold, before returning to a liquid form. Its creators describe it as fresh and tasty, so soft as to…melt in your mouth! The preparation does not seem to be extremely difficult, but it is essential to dose the right amounts of ingredients to achieve the “Water Drop” effect. The recipe, that is…

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Frog Eye Salad

Here we are: Frog eye salad is probably a sweet lie: of course not made of frog eyes and it isn’t even your normal lettuce-based salad. This sweet, creamy dish is actually a beloved dessert especially in the United States’ Rocky Mountain region. It is the favorite in particular among members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and it is a staple of Mormon potlucks, cookouts, funerals, and holidays. It’s especially beloved on Thanksgiving, claiming the top spot in online Thanksgiving recipe searches in Colorado, Idaho, Nevada,…

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Lampreia de Ovos, an egg-based Christmas dessert which celebrate a bloodsucking fish!

Here we are: We are in Portugal, where for centuries nuns doubled as egg yolk–slinging pastry chefs, cementing the country’s specialty in yellow-coloured desserts. In religious houses, the egg whites were used for ironing, and the Convent Confectionery could evolve thanks to the use of the egg yolk surplus, which originated countless recipes. There’s for example ovos moles, small, seashell-shaped candies, or pão de ló de ovar, a decadent, gooey cake. Then there’s lampreia de ovos, perhaps the most unique among the yolk-based creations. The origin of the Egg Lamprey…

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5# Milanese Panettone: history, legends and traditions.

If at Christmas, Americans enjoy pumpkin pie, the English have plum or Christmas pudding, all the Italians celebrate with panettone. Just the mention of this sweet Milanese speciality conjures up the aromas of citrus, vanilla, candied fruit and typical italian Christmas. In Italy, giving panettone is not a simple act of kindness but a gesture rich in history and tradition. Historically, it seems that the Panettone dates back as far as the Middle Ages when to celebrate Christmas, people would replace their daily bread with a richer recipe, a practice…

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Scandinavians use blood to make dense, dark and savory Pancakes~

A balanced breakfast is a very important meal in just about all over the world, but not many of them require a blood sacrifice. There is a traditional dish that is exactly what it sounds like: a pancake made with a healthy helping of blood. And that’s true. Scandinavians use blood to make dark and savory flapjacks! During the icy Scandinavian winters, local cooks learned to make the most out of every animal they hunted, so, nothing was wasted. They boiled hooves into gelatin, fried hearts into nuggets, and baked…

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Bled Island Potica: a delicacy from Slovenia.

Here we are: Many people in Slovenia, especially people with a grandma with an affinity for baking, grew up eating potica’s slices. Potica is a traditional cake, and a must for every holiday in Slovenia, be it Christmas, Easter or a family celebration. It’s made from yeast-raised sweet dough, rolled thin and spread with different fillings. Since Slovenia boasts a wealth of culturally diverse regions with a variety of culinary traditions, there are not only one version of the cake, because it’s a versatile shapeshifter that takes on various forms…

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