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5 Festive International Holiday Desserts

This blog post was updated on September 5, 2018.


The holidays are right around the corner, and while there are sure to be guests at the table who must have their traditional fruit cake, you might be able to convince others to try an international sweet treat. Here are five festive dessert ideas that are sure to go over big at your holiday gatherings. Remember, if you don’t feel like making them yourself, you can always pick them up from your favorite international bakery!

Tiramisu (Italy)
Tiramisu, my favorite Italian dessert, is made from eggs, mascarpone triple-crème cheese, ladyfingers (sweet sponge cakes), cream, liquor brandy, marsala, a touch of sugar, a bit of rum, and topped with shaved chocolate or cocoa sprinkles. A heavenly way to end a meal!

Baklava (Greece and Turkey)
Both the Greeks and the Turks lay claim to this delectable dessert. Baklava, which is made from a syrup concocted from honey, sugar, lemon juice, and orange water poured over layers of phyllo dough and topped with melted butter and pistachios, is one of the most satisfying desserts I’ve ever tasted. Best paired with a cup of strong coffee.

Éclair (France)
An éclair is an oval-shaped pastry made with airy dough that is baked until it is firm on the outside and hollow on the inside. It is then filled with cream (vanilla or chocolate) or custard and topped with chocolate icing. The ultimate French indulgence, this one is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Mochi (Japan)
Mochi is a sweet Japanese rice cake that comes in various beautiful shapes and delicious flavors. It is traditionally eaten for Japanese New Year. An Americanized version of this lovely treat is mocha ice cream — thick, fruity ice cream wrapped in mochi (a rice cake covering) and dusted in powdered sugar. These unique treats are sure to make a visual and gustatory impact.

Alfajores (South America)
Perhaps the most delicious cookies in the world, alfajores are essentially “caramel sandwiches” – two crispy wafers filled with dulce de leche (caramelized milk). Perfect served with black coffee.


Is there a delicious treat that we’ve neglected to mention? Tell us about it in the comments!

About the author

Jen Westmoreland Bouchard

An insatiable foodie, art collector, and international literature aficionado, I have traveled throughout Europe, Asia, the U.S. and Canada. For the past fifteen years, I have written about my adventures for various travel and literary publications. I am the owner of Lucidité Writing ( and Bouchard Design Co. (

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