We love trying new food when we’re traveling, so when it comes to dessert, there’s no stopping at just one. Beyond candy, ice cream and Europe’s most iconic sweets, we’ve expanded our scope to look at desserts from all over the world—plus a few more European treats we just couldn’t leave out.
Spainiards typically eat a light dessert of fruit or flan, a vanilla egg custard topped with caramel. For a sweeter, more indulgent snack, churros con chocolate is the way to go.
The majority of mochi is eaten around the Japanese New Year, although it’s a popular treat year-round. This gelatinous rice is made out of sticky rice and formed into a round ball, and sometimes its’ even dressed up as ice cream.
A brioche-like cake most popular around Easter time, babka means “grandmother” in Polish. Depending on where it originated, babka can be simply coated with a vanilla or chocolate glaze or formed more like a cinnamon roll with a chocolate-cinnamon filling, a Jewish-American influence that has gained in popularity today.
Chocolate lovers will want to make a stop in Vienna if only for the sachertorte, a dense, fudgy chocolate cake layered with apricot jam and frosted with a thick layer of chocolate icing. The cake was created in 1832, after Prince Metternich of Austria commissioned his chef to create a new dessert for an important dinner party he was hosting. Fate would have it that the principal chef was ill, so the chef’s 16-year-old apprentice, Franz Sacher, took over and invented the sachertorte—immediately met with wild acclaim.
Named after the famous Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, rumor has it the dish was invented when Pavlova was staying at a hotel in Wellington, New Zealand. This light dessert is made out of egg whites for a meringue-like crust and marshmallowy inside that tastes even better when topped with slices of fresh, colorful fruit.
This sweet, gooey dessert is made with layers of crispy phyllo dough, chopped nuts (usually walnuts or pistachios) and covered in a syrupy glaze made from honey. While once considered a luxury available only to the wealthy, now baklava is found readily available anywhere from Greece to Turkey.
In Argentina, dulce de leche is sandwiched between two powdery cookies to create an “alfajor.” Alfajores originated in Spain but came to Latin America sometime during the mid-19th century.
Meaning “pick-me-up” in Italian, this boozy, cake-like dessert is made with lady finger cookies soaked in liqueur, then layered between whipped cream mixed with mascarpone cheese. While many think of tiramisu as flavored with espresso and chocolate, in actuality the dish varies based on seasonal ingredients—you can find it made with strawberries or other berries during the summer.
What’s your favorite international dessert? Tell us about it (or share your best recipe) in the comments!