Christmas tables all over Greece are usually a plentiful display of flavors and colors from the Mediterranean. When it comes to Greek Christmas sweets, the strong influence that the Ottoman empire left in Greece is hard to hide.
Sweets are a staple food of the Greek table during the holiday season. All over the country, pastry shops have already started selling Greek Christmas sweets at least a month before the celebration. Every bakery shop window has been displaying huge piles of white (kouriabithes) and brown (melomakarona) cookies for weeks now. Fragrances in such shops are inebriating. Cinnamon, clove and orange zest aromas combine with a variety of textures that include nuts, honey, and thick kinds of syrup.
Some of these sweets are so characteristic that no housewife would ever think of having a Christmas table without them. Prepare yourself to indulge in this sugary list of the most loved Greek Christmas sweets.
Together with the white kouriabithes, melomakarona is the sweet that best reminds the Greeks that Christmas is coming. Orange, cinnamon, and clove are the tastes that best define these special cookies. Some people choose to dip them in a light syrup and top with sprinkled almonds, pistachios or nuts. If you are curious and decide to give this recipe a try, here you can find a practical demonstration of the procedure.
, favorite Christmas cookies in Greece.
An all-time favorite, kouriabithes are easy to bake and taste delicious, enough to find them in every Greek home. Almonds are the main, but some people chose to use chestnuts or walnuts in these cookies. There’s one thing they all have in common though, a super thick layer of confectioners sugar on top. According to the tradition, the white powder is a reminder of the snowy mountains of Greece.
For those who prefer pies over cookies, karydopita is a cake that represents the Christmas tradition of the Ionian islands. It’s a slight spicy cake with walnuts, cinnamon, and cloves. According to the original tradition, it must be soaked in a spicy syrup once it’s cold.
from the Ionian.
The Greek island of Crete carries a much “lighter” tradition when it comes to the sweets of the merry season. It’s common to still find sugary cookies and pies, but the main sweet during Christmas is lychnarakia.
The main ingredient of this circular pastry is a creamy kind of local cheese. This features clearly talks about a treat that is lighter in taste and definitely less cloying. Kids love to sprinkle cinnamon on top of their lychnarakia before eating them.