Three festive treats from around the world

Bring some flavours of the world to your table this Christmas, and try one of these three festive treats. We've scoured the globe for some tasty, exotic, colourful and downright delicious recipes to help spice things up this year. 

It's not always easy to break with tradition, so start off slowly as you take your family on a culinary trip around the world:

Ensalada de Noche Buena

Noche Buena refers to Christmas Eve in Mexico. It is tradition for families to have a big meal at midnight, and this is one of the popular side dishes. This salad will add an explosion of colour to your table:


  • 4 large navel oranges 
  • 1 large red grapefruit ( peeled, sectioned and cut into 1/4 inch pieces)
  • 3/4 cup slivered red radishes (about 6 medium)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lime rind 
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice 
  • 3 tablespoons plain fat-free yoghurt
  • 2 tablespoons light mayonnaise 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • Dash of salt 
  • 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce 
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted pumpkin seed kernels, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander


  • Peel and section oranges and grapefruit over a large bowl, reserving juice; add sections to juice. Add jradishes to orange mixture and toss gently. Cover and chill 30 minutes
  • Combine rind, lime juice, yoghurt, mayonnaise, honey, salt and pepper in a small bowl, stirring until smooth
  • Arrange lettuce in a large bowl. Using a slotted spoon, place the orange mixture over lettuce; drizzle evenly with yogurt mixture
  • Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seed kernels and coriander


This is a traditional Italian dessert similar to fruitcake. The rich, aromatic spices and fruit flavour make it a Christmas favourite. This can be made up to one month ahead. Rectangular edible sheets of white rice paper are available from delicatessens (not to be confused with translucent Asian rice paper wrappers).

Ingredients (serves 8)

  • 2 sheets rice paper
  • 115g (3/4 cup) plain flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 cup (160g) whole blanched almonds
  • 1 cup (150g) hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup (95g) sultanas
  • 1/4 cup (60g) chopped dried figs
  • 1/2 cup (110g) chopped glace pineapple
  • 1/4 cup (65g) chopped glace ginger
  • 1/4 cup (60g) chopped glace peach
  • 2/3 cup (140g) caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) honey
  • 2 tbs water
  • Icing sugar mixture, to dust


  • Preheat oven to 160°C. Grease a 20cm diameter springform pan and line base with rice paper sheets, using scissors to trim paper to fit base.
  • Place the almonds and hazelnuts on separate oven trays. Bake in preheated oven for 5 minutes or until almonds and hazelnuts are toasted. Remove from oven. Place the hazelnuts in a clean tea towel and gently rub to remove skins
  • Combine the flour, cinnamon, mixed spice, coriander, pepper, almonds, hazelnuts, sultanas, figs, pineapple, ginger and peach in a large bowl
  • Combine sugar, honey and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Cook, without stirring, for 5 minutes or until syrup thickens slightly
  • Pour sugar mixture into nut mixture and stir until well combined. Spread mixture into prepared pan, pressing down firmly
  • Bake for 40 minutes or until just firm. The centre should still be a little soft. Cool in pan. Dust with icing sugar and slice thinly

Creme de Vie (Cuban eggnog)

Creme de vie translates to "cream of life" and is a Cuban holiday tradition. It should be refrigerated for a minimum of three weeks, as the longer it's stored the smoother it gets. Serve chilled in a liqueur glass or a small glass - a little goes a long way! Garnish with nutmeg if desired.


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 12 oz evaporated milk
  • 14 oz condensed milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups white rum
  • Ground nutmeg for garnish


  • Bring sugar and water to a rolling boil until the sugar dissolves and the syrup lightly coats a spoon. Set aside to cool
  • Separate and lightly whisk the egg yolks
  • Add the evaporated and condensed milks to the yolks and whisk
  • Add the vanilla and rum. Mix well
  • Slowly add the syrup to the egg mixture after ensuring the syrup has cooled. Mix well. Strain the mixture at least twice to ensure all solid pieces of sugar or egg are removed
  • Pour into bottles and let them sit for about an hour. Store in the refrigerator.

Got your own favourite exotic dish to add? Tell us about it in the comments section below, or email your recipe to We'd love to hear from you! You can also link to images, blogs or stories from twitter and Facebook.

Want to get out and try the real thing? Take a look through our list of destinations to find the one that gets your tastebuds tingling. Order a FREE brochure or read one online.



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