Holiday Food Traditions Around the Globe

There are so many holiday food traditions enjoyed by those around the world. This week, we take a look at a handful of special ways that different cultures celebrate the holiday season:

Germany– Marzipan is a sweet treat that has been enjoyed for years during the holiday season by those in Germany. Commonly referred to as candy potatoes, marzipan is not only delightful, but also so easy to make!
Not to mention, we have the Germans to thank for the ever-popular advent calendars we see around this time of year. 

Italy – It is common on Christmas Eve for Italians to ditch meat and instead serve a bounty of fish, also known as the Feast of the Seven Fishes. Eel is oftentimes served during the holiday meal as it is a common catch off of the Amalfi coast during the winter season. 

The Spruce Eat's Fried Eel
Image by: The Spruce Eats

Japan– Japan has practiced a long standing tradition of indulging on soba noodles every New Years Eve. Toshikoshi Soba, which translates to “New Year’s Eve Noodles” are meant to be slurped while reflecting and transitioning from one year into another. 

Just One Cookbook's Toshikoshi Soba
Image by: Just One Cookbook

The South– Also as a way to ring in the New Year, it is common for those in the South to serve up some black-eyed peas and collard greens. Greens represent paper money while the beans are symbolic for coins. This comfort food must be eaten on New Year’s Day for optimum luck the rest of the year. 

New York Times Cooking: Black-eyed Peas and Collard Greens
Image by: New York Times Cooking

Scandinavia– Sweden and Norway have a love for Cardamom as they consume anywhere from 18 to 30 times more of the spice per capita each year. With Cardamom being such a staple in their spice racks, it is common during the holiday season to see it featured in their dishes, especially their baked goods. Their Fyrstekake (a Cardamom-Almond tart) is the perfect Scandinavian holiday food.  

We at Etta+ Billie love cardamom as well! Our favorite spice is offered in our Grapefruit Cardamom line or our special edition holiday Ritual Coffee + Cardamom Soap!

Cafe Johnsonia's Fyrstekake (Norwegian Cardamom-Almond Tart)
Image by: Cafe Johnsonia

Fresh This Month: Chai Tea

Chai is a perfect winter scent with a warming grounding blend of cinnamon, cardamom, clove, and ginger. The warming spicy aroma of cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg meld with the creamy richness of milk to create a delicious and soothing blend.

Chai is a phenomenally distinct yet versatile flavor and scent. Commonly founds mixed with black tea, chai originated in South Asia and can be traced back to India and China. While chai spices vary from region to region, traditional chai spices include cinnamon, star anise, cardamom, cloves, fennel, ginger, and peppercorn.

Etta + Billie Chai Tea

If you’re interested in making your own chai drink, here is a simple and delicious recipe that combines black tea, milk, and spices.

Ingredients:

2-inch piece fresh ginger, chopped
2 cinnamon sticks
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
10 whole cloves
6 cardamom pods
6 cups cold water
6 bags of black tea
2 cups of whole milk (or almond/soy milk)

Directions:

  1. Combine fresh ginger, cinnamon, peppercorns, cloves, and cardamom in a medium saucepan. While stirring, lightly crush the spices.
  2. Add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover the saucepan, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, add tea bags and steep for 5 minutes.
  5. Discard tea bags, add your milk of choice, and simmer over high heat for 2 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat, strain chai into a teapot, and serve hot.

Etta + Billie Chai Tea Limited Edition Products

Want to include the deliciously aromatic smells of chai not just in your beverages but in your home and skincare routine too? You’re in luck! Etta + Billie just released a line of limited edition chai tea inspired bath and body products for those who can’t get enough of the stuff.

A perfect scent for the cooler temperatures of fall and winter, these chai bath and body products offer the perfect blend of warming cinnamon and ginger with spicy cardamom, cloves, and nutmeg:

Chai Tea Body Scrub
Chai Tea Room + Body Spray
Chai Tea Skin Balm
Chai Tea Soap

Makers Gonna Make: Grapefruit Cardamom Rose Cooler Recipe

GF Rosewater Still 2

This recipe combines two of my favorite flavors (grapefruit and cardamom) together in one cooling, sweet and tart beverage. Perfect for warm days. I’ve been a grapefruit lover for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I’d always asked my grandma Etta for half a grapefruit for breakfast (no sugar) cut just the right way (Etta was the only one who knew how to do it correctly) so that I could scoop out the flesh and create  “grapefruit soup”. It’s still my favorite way to eat a grapefruit. I developed a deep love of cardamom while exploring the world of soapmaking. It’s spicy, herbal, sweet notes are incredible in both desserts and savory items. Plus, it blends beautifully with citrus and most stone fruit.

I brought these two lovely scents together in the Grapefruit Cardamom line of products at Etta + Billie 7 years ago and I’m still obsessed. Which is how I came up with the recipe for this Grapefruit Cardamom Rose Cooler. Check out the video I made for the recipe with written directions below.

Ingredients

  • ¼ – ½ tsp rose water (this is surprisingly flavorful so start with a little and increase as desired)
  • ¼ tsp or more cardamom
  • ½ – 1 whole peeled pink grapefruit
  • 1 cup of Water
  • Ice

Tools
blender, measuring spoons, a glass

Let’s do it!

  1. Add half grapefruit in the blender
  2. Put ¼ teaspoon of rosewater
  3. Add 1/2 teaspoon of cardamom
  4. Toss in 4 or 5 ice cubes
  5. Pour in a cup of water
  6. Blend until obtain a silky smooth (I have blendtec and set it to fresh fruit or smoothie mode)
  7. Pour into a glass and enjoy!