Sugared and spiced and everything nice

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There isn’t a time more suited to delve into the comforting world of traditions than the month of December. Tinsel and tarts, baubles and bubbles, lights and laughter and the good cheer that goes so well with it all. From the Jewish festival of Lights to Christmas celebrations, cinnamony pumpkin pie in the States, gingerbread houses in Germany, deep-fried delicacies and latkes to a fish braai along our West Coast, every tradition is as unique as the family, region and culture they belong to.

But no festive season menu would be complete without the traditional diet-stomping Christmas pudding. And as the most celebrated course on the 25th of December, the Christmas pudding also plays a leading role in many Christmas traditions.

We all know the British sixpence in the pudding surprise, but our friends in Sweden have a very similar tradition. Their traditional Christmas dessert comprises of a rice pudding with a hidden almond. Whoever gets the almond is set to get married within a year.

The Slovakians however, prefer to determine their luck by hurling their pudding at the ceiling. Loksa, a traditional Slovakian Christmas dessert, is made from poppy seeds, honey, milk and bread, and the more that sticks to the ceiling, the more luck will come your way. To this we say na zdraví!

However, a Christmas dessert tradition that makes us want to go ‘rum pum pum pum’, can be found in the south of France. Les Treize Desserts (The Thirteen Desserts, symbolising Jesus and the 12 apostles) features a delicious array of all that is good in life – fruits, nougat and traditional sweets.

So whether you hurl it, probe it, deep-fry it or have thirteen servings of it, we wish each and every one of you a blessed festive season and a showstopper of a dessert.