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What People Around the World Have for Dessert

Each country has their own ideas on how the final course should be made.

Dessert is the course of a meal that many people look forward to the most. The end to a good meal is often punctuated by the rich, sweet, or creamy flavors that sweet treats offer. A nice slice of chocolate cake, a scoop of ice cream, or perhaps a custard finish out the dinner and can be the perfect compliment. But, not every country does dessert the same way.

oreo chocolate mousse trifle
Via/ Unsplash

In the 1600s and before sweetmeats were served by the very wealthy of Europe as a palette cleanser between the other courses. Since sugar was hard to come by, it was a show of one’s great pleasure in extravagance to serve sugary foods multiple times each meal.

Today, however, sugar is cheap and plentiful, leading to an abundance of sweets that most of us are actually trying to resist. But, dessert is an allowance for many that makes the whole meal worth having.

Among the more interesting desserts are the chocolate balls made from condensed milk and covered with sprinkles that are popular in Brazil. They are called brigadeiros and they get their name from the military leader and politician, Eduardo Gomes, who was a brigadier.

Brigadeiro in orange paper wrapper
Via/ Wiki Commons

A sugary delicacy in Hungary and Eastern Europe is the kürtőskalác, or chimney cake. These tubular cakes are made on spits and cooked on an open fire. The legend of these roasted cakes is that they come from Transylvania, during the Mongol invasion of 1241 as a tactic of war. The women making the food made them to be hollow and gave them to the invaders, who were now starving from the hollow bread, leaving the Transylvanian region. Today, these cakes are iced, dipped in cinnamon sugar, or covered in sprinkles.

kürtőskalás or chimney cakes
Via/ Flickr

Banoffee pie is a distinctly English creation that combines toffee, bananas, and whipped cream for a unique taste. The treat can be made as a cake and/or feature the flavors of chocolate and coffee depending on the recipe. The pie was invented in 1971 at a restaurant in Sussex, and has since been made world renowned.

banoffee pie
Via/ Flickr

Yakgwa is a Korean treat that consists of a molded cookies in elegant shapes that are then soaked in honey for 6-8 hours. The name references the notion that honey is medicine and the delicate cookies are eaten around Chuseok, the winter harvest festival, even to this day.

Korean honey-soaked Yakgwa cookie eaten at Chuseok
Via/ Flickr

No matter what your personal favorite desserts are, it’s clear that sweets are valued all across the globe. See dozens of the amazing desserts eaten around the world in the video below.