A route around the globe taking in the best desserts the world has to offer

As writer Ernestine Ulmer famously said: “Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.” We all love a bit of the sweet stuff and every country has its own unique offering, but some are so good it’s almost worth planning a tour just to take them in. If we had that kind of time and money this could be the route around the globe we’d take to embrace the best the world has to offer by way of paradise puddings.

Pavlova – Australia/New Zealand

We start our tour in Australia, although the nation of New Zealand has been arguing with the Aussies for years over who invented this fruity meringue dessert. Created in honour of the Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova after she toured the two countries, this simple combination of meringue, cream and fruit is a rare treat.

Gulab Jamun – India

Flying northwest to India we find a popular dessert available across the Indian Subcontinent by the name of Gulab Jamun – a deep fried dough ball made mainly from milk solids. The fried dough is then soaked in a syrup flavoured either with rose water, cardamom seeds, or saffron. Often eaten at weddings, these little cakes are sublime.

Umm Ali – Egypt

West to Egypt now for the country’s prized umm ali dessert (also known as om ali) – most commonly compared to American bread pudding recipes. Umm ali is made from layered pastry with raisins, coconut, nuts and sugar. Glorious.

Baklava – Turkey

Heading south across the Mediterranean into Turkey we find the world-famous Baklava dessert – an irresistible combination of filo pastry, honey/syrup and chopped nuts. The pastry is saturated in the honey or syrup and becomes dense and exceptionally sweet, so you don’t need much of this to provide a serious sugar hit.

Gelato – Italy

Back across the Med to Italy for the country’s renowned frozen dessert gelato. Made using less butterfat than ice cream, but with a higher sugar content to balance the water content and stop the paste from freezing solid. Available in a rainbow variety of flavours and also served mixed with toppings and mixes such as chocolate flakes, nuts and biscuit pieces.

Churros – Spain?

West across the Med to Spain now for a dessert which is available in most Spanish-speaking countries. Churros are also known as Spanish doughnuts, and are basically long, shaped doughnuts which can be dipped in chocolate or milky coffee.

Cheesecake – New York, USA

From Spain we hop over the Atlantic to New York for the city’s inimitable take on what is possibly the world’s favourite dessert: cheesecake. The New York style cheesecake is a baked variety made from cream cheese and plenty of egg yolks. Dense and comparatively savoury, the New York cheesecake is fabulous with any zingy fruit syrup.

Beignets – New Orleans, USA

Zooming down to New Orleans we encounter the city’s take on the fried dough dessert. These choux pastry cakes are showered in icing sugar and can also be served with maple or fruit fillings.

Quindim – Brazil

Down the continent to Brazil now for the country’s unusual shiny dessert quindim. These egg custard sweets are flavoured with coconut and are baked so the crust of the custard becomes the base of the sweet. Sublime.

Pancakes – Various

Finally we have the noble pancake, which comes in so many varieties it’s up to you where you go to sample this one! From the buttery French crêpe to the heavy American hotcake, most nations of the world have a take on this adaptable foodstuff. It’s hard to beat a crêpe rolled with lemon juice and crunchy sugar, but this one’s up to you…


Image sources: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11