It has started to smell a lot like Christmas! Greek Christmas desserts are a delightful part of the festive season, so rich in flavors and deeply rooted into Greek tradition. Here are some traditional Greek Christmas desserts that we love to enjoy during the holidays:
photo credit: timoleon diamantis
Traditional Greek Christmas desserts
Melomakarona: Melomakarona are the absolute favourite Greek Christmas cookies. And how couldn’t they be? Once taken out of the oven, the aromas of the cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg spread throughout the house and bring back childhood memories! Melomakarona are spiced honey cookies that are usually shaped into ovals and topped with chopped nuts, such as walnuts or almonds. After baking, they are soaked in a delicious honey syrup, which gives them a sweet and moist texture.
photo credit: mia kouppa
Kourabiedes: Looks like it snowed over this beloved festive dessert! Kourabiedes are buttery shortbread cookies with a crunchy bite that are often made with almonds, infused with a mesmerizing rosewater smell and dusted with much powdered sugar. The bites are shaped into crescents or rounds and are a popular treat during Greek Christmas season. If you haven’t tried Greek kourabiedes before, then you are certainly missing out!
photo credit: argiro
Diples: Christmas on a platter or diples meaning “folded” are one of the most traditional Greek honey pastry desserts that is very popular around Christmas time throughout the country. Thin sheets of dough are getting deep-fried until golden and crispy and then they are drizzled with honey and sprinkled with chopped nuts, usually walnuts or almonds. Diples always come folded or in a rolled shape, thus the name. Don’t forget to give it a go when in Greece!
Christopsomo: Christopsomo, meaning “Christ’s bread,” is a special bread traditionally baked for Christmas, always decorated with a cross. Christopsomo is considered as sacred in Greek households and is blessed before served to ensure a blessed new year. Its rich and distinctive flavour is due to two aromatic spices: mahleb and anise. Greek Christmas bread is usually prepared the day before Christmas Eve. According to Greek tradition, no knife should be used upon cutting the bread. Therefore, the householder cuts the pieces of the bread by hand and serves it to all family members.
photo credit: fooodlove
Vasilopita: Vasilopita meaning Saint Basil’s cake has its roots deep into Greek tradition. It is the traditional Greek cake or bread served at midnight on New Year’s Eve in order to celebrate the life of Saint Basil according to the Greek religion. After baking, the maker inserts a coin through its base. When the family gathers to cut it, the one who finds the coin is considered to be granted luck for the rest of the year! Vasilopita can be prepared with a variety of doughs, depending on the region, with almost every family having their own unique recipe.
Here we enjoy them as part of the Greek Christmas festivities, contributing to the warm and joyous atmosphere of the season.