An estimated 160 or more countries around the world celebrate Christmas, which leaves a lot of room for different traditions. From legends and stories to gift-giving practices, the way the world honours the holiday varies. In Colombia, on Día de las Velitas (Little Candles Day) people place lanterns with candles in their windows, on their balconies, and in their front yards. In Venezuela, residents of Caracas roller skate to morning mass from December 16 to 24. And in New Zealand, pohutukawa—a tree that blooms red in December—is associated with Christmas. But there is one custom that is a large part of Christmas no matter what country: food.
December is a month of feasting, and Christmas dinners are the pièce de résistance. In North America, we pile our plates high with turkey and trimmings, but that isn’t universal. In Japan Christmas is marked by a trip to KFC and in many costal towns in Europe fish is the centre piece.
But one British banking company was curious to know specifically what comes at the end of the meal. Is the traditional flaming Christmas pudding still the favourite for dessert on December 25? To find out, it analyzed numbers (as bankers do) and broke down the most searched-for homemade dessert recipes on the internet in 18 countries.
Using Google data from its keyword planner, the company collated a list of much-loved Christmas treats and fed them into a forecasting tool that displayed the average monthly searches for November and December of last year.
The surprise winner? Cheesecake. Apparently the decadent but unassuming, non-threatening dessert is the favourite of seven countries, including throughout the UK. Tiramisu was unsurprisingly the choice of Italy, but it was also the go-to treat of Spain, Germany, and Brazil.
Norway and New Zealand are partial to pavlova, while South Africa serves up trifle (which is also what my family has every year).
Here in Canada, it would seem we opt for simple and traditional shortbread for dessert. One can only assume that we are all too full of turkey and stuffing for a big cake-like finish to the evening so we pass around a plate of biscuits.
No matter your traditions or food preferences, we hope it’s delicious all the same.