“It’s fart time!”

As far as pastries go, these probably win for having the least tasty-sounding English translation. The reason? The French-Canadian Pet de Soeur literally mean “nun’s fart”. Québécois often bake the flaky delicious spirals of dough especially during holidays. The pastry, glazed in butter, brown sugar, and occasionally cinnamon, pays crass homage to the nuns who first made it, and it’s significantly tastier than its name implies. So, why a flatulence reference for such a delicious treat? Well, nobody knows for sure, as explanations abound. Some say it stems from the…

Read More

Carrageen Moss Pudding – a sweet, silky Irish pudding with a seaweed as secret ingredient ~

Ever seen “carrageenan” at the end of an incomprehensible list of ingredients on the back of your ice cream tub (or your toothpaste tube, too)? Probably you didn’t know that this mystery ingredient comes from one of several species of seaweed, carrageen (Chondrus crispus). Know as carrageen “moss”, but actually a seaweed, is one of Ireland’s more unusual natural resources, and there are any number of ways to spell its common name: carrageen, carrageenan, carragheen and carragheenan, take your pick. But, in any case, they’re all derived from the Irish…

Read More

Smearcase: a cheesecake named after 19th-century cottage cheese still served in a few Baltimore bakeries.

A dairy wagon in Virginia City, Nevada, made the news when it tipped over in 1878. The Territorial Enterprise published an article called “Whey Goin?” in which a pun-crazed reporter described in this way the scene: “The air was filled with milk and the wagon was left a complete wreck. It was a regular smear-case. From the length of time he has been in the milk business Pedroli’s horse ought to know butter than to act in such a whey— ’tain’t the cheese.” Interestingly, all of the dairy products listed…

Read More

Musk Sticks: the classic Australian candy looks like pink toothpaste and smells like old ladies at the bus stop.

While many Australians and New Zealanders love this vintage candy for nostalgic reasons, others detest its shocking perfume flavor. In fact, the so called Musk Sticks have been likened to “the smell of old ladies at the bus stop“, and they are made with real synthetic musk essence… These musk-flavoured candy are fairy-pink cylinders that resemble extruded toothpaste. They’re made mostly of musk essence, gelatin, and icing sugar, which gives them a semi-soft and powdery, fondant-like feel. Their dissolvable quality also means they can be “twisted on your tongue into…

Read More

21# Puto Bumbong – Philippines

We are in the Philippines, which are home to one of the longest Christmas seasons in the world, stretching from the beginning of September until the end of December. In fact Christmas carols are heard as early as September and the season last until Epiphany, the feast of the Black Nazarene on the second Sunday of January, or at the Feast of the Santo Niño held every third Sunday of January. As a results, months of festivities are dotted by a wide array of delicious, often colorful treats, and among…

Read More

19# Fruitcake: the gift that keeps on giving

American journalist and humorist Calvin Trillin theorized that there is only one fruitcake and that it is simply sent from family to family each year. What is true, is that most Americans turn their noses at the very thought of fruitcake even though, for some reason, this item keeps making the rounds and this is made possible because the cakes are soaked in alcohol or other liquors to keep them from go bad. Don’t believe me? This man sampled a cake that someone had kept as a family heirloom dating…

Read More

18# Melomakarona: Greek Christmas Honey Cookies with curious origins

Sweet orange-zest cookies soaked in honey and topped with walnut? Yes, please! This treat is a holiday treat that regularly appears on tables in Greece. Known as melomakarona, if you visit Greece in Christmas time, you’ll eat far too many of these delicious Christmas honey cookies. Imagine a cross between baklava and an gooey pecan pie and you’ve got these: typical Greek Christmas honey cookies, and probably you won’t be able to eat just one. Every self-respecting Greek household has a huge pile of these on their Christmas treat table.…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

Koláč: how a delicious Czech pastry became a texan speciality.

Non-Texans people probably may be surprised to know that their State has the largest population of Czech-Americans in the United States. Czech immigrants began coming to Texas in the 19th century, where they settled in little farming communities known as tiny Praha, in southeast of Austin. They brought with them, of course, the koláč, an open-faced pastry traditionally prepared with a sweet filling, which is now beloved across all the state. So, the Czech koláč became “ko-lah-chee” for Texans, and its fillings have evolved over time. Many Texans first experienced…

Read More