What a great round of Sugar High Friday we've had! For the current round of SHF, originally created by Jennifer, the Domestic Goddess, of course, I had chosen local or regional specialities as a theme. Almost 60 food bloggers near and far have rosen to the challenge and presented us with a sweet something (dessert, cookie, cake, etc) that is found in their neck of the woods only, something that has made a town or area famous, or a delicacy that is only made for a specific occasion, not to be had elsewhere or at any other time of the year.
It appears that Europe is very special in having such abundance of local treats whereas many bloggers report that due to them pertaining to a more mobile population, most culinary traditions are a national phenomenon... therefore, many have interpreted the theme a bit more broadly and have created their own special treat using a special local ingredient. The variety of entries I've received over the past month is absolutely amazing and I've been going through a whirlwind around the globe to visit all these special places and the intriguing stories surrounding them...
So do step in and let me take you on a journey where you'll discover malva pudding and filbert scones, funnel cakes and badam elaichi kulfi and wish the journey would never end!
For once, I've decided to part with the tradition of doing it by blog and alphabetically, purely because the theme screams for a geographical representation. The entries will be sorted by geographical region, then by country and in alphabetical order. The location is where the dish originates, not necessarily the location of the blogger.
Taking us on a trip to her native South Africa, Cook Sister! says peppermint crisp fridge tart is "lekker"... and something you won't be making at home unless you have a South African food store nearby. But if you've ever wanted to see a South African lick their plate clean, this is the dessert of choice - screw table manners!
Food & Family is sharing not one, but two local specialities: Malva pudding made with rich apricot jam and South African milk tart which is completely crustless and has the comfort factor of creamy rice pudding without the bulk... easy to do, quick to whip up and definitely something to bookmark for those cold winter days ahead of us!
Despite living in Somerset, England, Vanielje Kitchen indulges in a South African treat: the crunchies she grew up on as a born and bred Suid Afrikaner. Really a kind of flapjack (so not crunchy at all), they can be offered in a myriad of variations and are apparently indispensable for a midnight snack.
Cream Puffs in Venice uses Ontario Red Haven peaches to create some peach & almond tarts with her bounty from the local farmers' market. With a sprinkling of flaked almonds and a dusting of icing sugar, these look really irresistible - I can almost smell them from here!
Missing the rhubarb loot from the house he grew up in, Hungry in Hogtown now raids the wild (!) blueberry bushes in the back of where his parents live now... and Regan Daley's pie recipe doesn't fail him - making an "honourable breakfast" if you can restrain yourself from eating the lot straight from the oven!
Beaver tails might not sound very enticing, but do read through the recipe, do! Fried dough rolled in cinnamon sugar - evenings cuddled up in front of the fireplace wouldn't be the same without it for The Casual Baker. And you guessed right: beaver doesn't feature in the list of ingredients!
A two-hour drive is normally needed for What Smells So Good to get her hands on some Bobcaygeon Chelsea Buns... and we miss out on those stereotypically Canadian desserts like nanaimo bars and butter tarts - I hope she'll share those with us on a seperate occasion!
Building an orphanage far away from home can be tasking... and when the weather is bad in what you thought a tropical paradise, what better to lift you up than arroz con leche? Audaciousness spices it up with cinnamon and cloves for extra oomph and extra warmth!
Muffins made from quinoa, chocolate and pecans go down a treat at Sept Lieus - using this exotic grain, she also invites you to join yet another food blogging event... so do step by and sneak a peak - you don't need to speak French to participate!
With a whole conversation between her and her mum and an argument over what is and isn't a rock bun, Trinigourmet receives a reluctant nod of approval as she bakes coconut rock buns which feature as "to-to"s in her mother's book. Never mind the question over the name, they sure look irresistible!
US of A
Andrea's Recipes wants nothing more than an orchard behind her house to make best use of the great climate they have there. As her Mum and gran used to do before her, she uses corn syrup for her mini chocolate & pecan pies, which is definitely a Southern tradition. Rich, dark and moreish!
My berry debate with Pille gains a whole new dimension, as Baking in Oregon adds marionberries and caneberries to the discussion... and who ever knew that the state was one of the main producers of hazelnuts, or filberts, as they are locally known? Enjoy his hazelnut scones with blackberry curd!
Feeding my Enthusiasms is using an apple variety local to Sonoma County to produce a mighty good apple sauce. Gravenstein apples happily thrive in the dry climate they enjoy over there, but don't travel easily, so are never exported. But one lucky girl is enjoying their sweet, yet tart flavour from fruit picked off her own tree!
Former president of the French Club at her school, Food Chronicles has been making Pêche Melba ever since she could spell peach. In French, of course! These fruits are only the second favourite after apricots, but Abricot Melba just doesn't have the same ring to it, I guess...
If you didn't know Michigan was home to the sour cherry, now you're enlightened! Hunger Pangs uses them to make a moreish sour cherry cobbler, but finds pitting these beauties a royal pain. I bet it would become a family favourite if you leave them in and have a spitting contest while you eat!
Despite being located in the Pacific Northwest, Je Mange la Ville reckons Tiramisu can be converted into a local speciality by using no less than eight shots of local Stumpdown coffee, which is apparently roasted in Portland, Oregon and has started a coffe revolution in her town...
"Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie." One Hot Stove agrees with Garfield and brings us an All American carrot cake with pineapple, coconut and pecans. The decoration of flowers made from grated carrots is surely a very individual touch!
Shortcut to Mushrooms gives up thoughts of re-creating an ice-cream bar she had at a state fair in favour of a homemade corn pudding. Corn is apparently synonymous with Iowa, where she lives, but growing up in North Carolina, she's really been raised on this pudding - what a tough life it must have been...not!
Traditional Texas chocolate cake may be Slightly Cheaper than Therapy, that's if you don't count the weight-loss program you need after indulging in too much of it! But this creation definitely looks like it's worth going on a diet for... and you can always have a relapse!
A series of unfortunate events forces Sugar Delirium to splash out on a set of new pans to bake a lovely coconut cake for a party with a Southern theme. Moist and dense with an icing of sugar and a generous topping of coconut, who could resist?
A generous client in South Carolina treats Tartelette to 10 pounds of locally-grown figs, which apparently are almost more abundant in South Carolina than pecans - enough for chutneys, jams and some delicious fig & almond tartelettes I would die to lay my hands on...
Taking advantage of the abundance of produce that is offered on NY City's greenmarkets, The Pastry Princess serves roasted pears warm, bathed in honey with rosemary and cinnamon, and topped with an optional spoonful of whipped crème fraiche and drizzle of balsamic... seconds, anyone?
The Well-Seasoned Cook "Eats 'til it ouches" as she returns to Pennsylvania Dutch country, gobbling down as many funnel cakes as she can lay her hands on at the Kutztown Folk Festival... leaving barely enough space for shoo-fly pie, schnitz un knepp and chow chow the more austere-living Amish community are known for.
Baton Rouge and its peaches: enough inspiration for a simple dessert that epitomises all that is summer in Lousiana. Peaches and cream have become a standard birthday dessert for Weekly Dish and is a welcome treat to see off the summer and ring in the grim daily realities of another school year starting...
Nothing even remotely smells like California with its bay laurels, eucalyptus and redwood, Vampituity argues. She therefore improves on an old French classic and makes Bay Laurel Leaf Creme Brulee, soon to become a firm favourite up and down the country!
Originally a treat for for Chinese New Year in Singapore, pineapple tarts have become popular all year round. A Consuming Passion has them imported from China every year as they represent one of the biggest cravings for the food she grew up with... hardly suprising, just looking at those beauties!
Master chef with the microwave, Escapades makes badam elaichi kulfi. Without a recipe, I can only guess (and google) that this is a milk pudding with almonds and cardamom, but conveniently steamed in the microwave.
Fun and Food brings us the one speciality that I made sure to cut & paste, rather than type myself: Kesar Elaichi Shrikhand might be a bummer to spell, but this saffron & cardamom cream is incredibly quick to make and easily enhanced with fruit for an extra vitamin boost. Perfect summer dessert, I say!
Champorado is the Philippines' version of rice pudding - and mostly enjoyed for breakfast. 80 Breakfasts informs us that this rich chocolate mixture, often sold pre-packed, is often consumed with (brace yourself!) dried fish... something I bet only the most daring bloggers will try to repeat at home ;-)
Salzburger Nockerl are what the passionate cook is bringing to the table: a fluffy, not overly sweet meringue baked in the oven to mimick the mountains that sourround Salzburg, where I spent the summer. Never has it been so easy to make a soufflé without any fear of it not rising...
On a proper British bank holiday weekend doing DIY, Vanille & Chocolat brings out some adorable handmade crockery to brighten up her day with the chocolate mousse she grew up with. This must be the simplest recipe ever: sugar, chocolate, egg whites... and absolute heaven!
Fresh Adriatic Fish is a new blog in Croatia presenting us with Bobici, literally "little broad beans" that are traditional for All Saints Day and meant to represent a means for direct communication between the world of the dead and the land of the living... no wonder they've become popular all year round!
Sweet Sins may live in Sydney, but she still craves the local German treats like doughnuts and a parish fair cake made from semolina and saffron that is only made in her neck of the woods... top with raisins, ginger bread crumbs or enjoy plain, any version will do for this girl!
Expat Indian blogger What's For Lunch, Honey? on the other hand is not too hooked on German desserts, but opens the door of her cookery school to present us with a crash course in making crème brulée... using seasonal berries. Using her handy guide of tricks & tips, you'll never mess up a CB again!
Melting the modern and the traditional for a delicious summer dessert, Nami-Nami uses Kama, a local Estonian roast meal mixture made from ground peas, barley, rye and wheat. Adding sugar is not authentic, but a must to qualify as an entry for Sugar High Friday... and a new star is born, I dare say!
David Lebovitz respects his elderberries as he risks his life high up a ladder to make us elderberry syrup. He uses it to spice up his Kir, moisten his pancakes and wash down that stinking Brie that regularly secures him a seat on the métro on his way home from the market...
Cinnamon Trail has been holidaying in Italy and brings back good memories of indulgent desserts through a heavenly tiramisu. In the Western world, tiramisu is pretty much a staple diet, but not so in India and the addition of chocolate in the mascarpone cream will be welcome everywhere.
Another blogger craving Italian treats is eat the right stuff. As she whisks off to warmer climes, she treats herself to panpepato, a darker version of panforte and utterly Christmassy but, as she proves, equally enjoyable on a summer evening with plenty of dessert wine...
Turning a blind eye on someone who's submitting an old post... but I just couldn't resist Crispy Waffle's Dutch Appeltaart. After all, unlike some, she gives us a real insight into Dutch vs American apple pie and after decades of tasting and testing, has a perfect recipe to share!
Kookjeget gets a slap on the head with a Dutch cookie called Kletskop. Better than a skin desease by the same name, I say - he grew up with this apparently easiest cookie ever: what do their looks remind you of? They certainly wouldn't be doing a lot of lying around if he makes them for me ;-)
A baron by the name of Hendrik Hop was denied the consumption of coffee, so one clever baker in Den Haag invented Haagse Hopjes for him, as Make Life Sweeter tells us. With this recipe, how will I ever go back to coffee again, when I can have these caramels?
A misunderstanding is making me bend the rules quite a bit when Anna's Cuisine presents piernik, a traditional Polish Christmas cake. It's a kind of spiced bread with a damson jam filling that she posted last year and will surely spice up any evening in front of the fireplace.
Sass & Veracity has fond memories of when her father was sent to Spain with the Navy, allowing her to sink her teeth into way too many churros, long fritters piped into hot oil at the outdoor market she used to visit in "their" little village... and she serves them with cinnamon ice cream - what a treat!
Anne's Food brings us a local cookie using a special skrädmjöl flour for her oatmeal dreams. Her secret weapon for keeping any of them to herself at all is to use baking ammonia which should scare off any greedy fingers... way to go, girl, this surely is a technique for which you'll go down in foodblogging history!
A la Dilek shows us a Turkish declination of the famous Chelsea bun, called haşhaşli çörek. A German Turk living in Switzerland, he had an abundance of local specialities to choose from, but his eyes fell on these poppy buns made with ingredients from his mum's home town, like grape syrup, for example.
A Year at Oak Cottage sings an ode to Brenchley and the region's Huffkins, Well Puddings and Hobnut cakes but settles on Kentish Pan Cake, a layered cake making the most of the area's apples, cream and some imported booze... (substitution of the latter with apple juice is purely optional!)
The very first entry I received was Apple & Spice's Yorkshire Tea Loaf. A low-fat, but nevertheless delicious fruit cake that was developed by tailors of Harrogate to expand their range of products and it produced using their own Yorkshire tea of course... no tea party will ever be the same without it!
Just a month into her blogging career, A Merrier World brings us Devon Flats and a world of afternoon village cricket teas and Women’s Institute stands at church summer fêtes. They are made with clotted cream rather than butter and have a delicious, light, creamy taste... best had with raspberries!
Cherrapeno uses apples and pears from her own back garden to create the cutest fruit-shaped tarts - which gives the term "local" a whole new meaning! What could be more local than fruit from your own orchard?
Another tea bread hails from Wales: Food, Glorious Food! fell in love with Bara Brith while holidaying in North Wales as a little girl. A speckled bread studded with fruit that is best had toasted, with a generous slab of Welsh butter - that even beats the sandy sandwiches and pork pies on the beach!
A true friend's recipe for berry meringue tart, a wonderful cake that for me brings back childhood memories, is immortalized by The Golden Shrimp. A buttery nutty crust filled with a mix of tart red berries and a fluffy sweet meringue - can you think of anything more perfect than that?
Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once tempts me with something close to my heart: these golden syrup dumplings are supposedly an English creation, but I've never heard of them... so in the "Down Under" section I'll keep them - now, where was that tin of golden syrup I came across just yesterday???
Another new kid on the blog, Dessertaholic presents us with Valrhona potato truffles, made with locally-grown potatoes picked (up) on her way to work no less! After trying this combination you never think could work, she'll even increase the amount of spuds next time - so maybe this is something we all ought to try?
Food Lover's Journey is fortunate to have a Monsieur Truffle shop in her adopted home of Melbourne and makes a steaming hot chocolate using their own brand chocolate. Just what you need in these cold temperatures... hang on: Melbourne, London... does the sune shine anywhere at the moment?
History lesson over at Green Gourmet Giraffe who delves deep into the origins of Peach Melba(ourne) and the lack of truly local Aussie food. True to the nature of the theme, she shares something that for her is ordinary, but very exotic for people like me... and her pumpkin scones do sound marvellous, even though most people will pass on the suggestion of spreading them with vegemite!
A restless soul, torn between native Indonesian and resident New Zealander, Homemades claims scones may originate in Scotland, but are really most popular in Oceania. Enhanced by cheese, dates or sultanas, not even Billy Connolly in a skirt could distract me from eating those beauties!
Laws of the Kitchen in Queensland mourns the fact that everything is Australia seems to be "borrowed" from somewhere, but nothing screams Australia more than Lamingtons, those exquisit cubes of fine biscuit dunked in chocolate and rolled in coconut - except for course for....
... Anzac biscuits, brought to us by Lemonpi, leaving all thoughts of pavlovas and Tim-Tams behind. Despite the romantic tale of women sending these to their loved ones on the front during WWII, apparently they originate before that and are a NZ creation. Never mind, I just care about the taste, really!