It’s that time of year again when everyone in India prepares to celebrate one of the most anticipated festivities. The sweet smell of Christmas goodies wafting out of bakeries tempts us all to turn this festive season into a merrier affair. There’s no better time to cut some slack from your diet than now when there are various traditional Indian Christmas Sweets to choose from! The Christmas season is all about enjoying life’s joys, and what could be more wonderful than dessert?
If you’re looking for some mouthwatering desserts for Christmas, you will be pleased to hear there are plenty of options you can find around you! It’s time to give in to your sweet tooth and dig into a melange of flavours with gusto. Here are eight traditional Christmas treats in India to truly whet your appetite, and also where you can sample them for yourself![Also Read: 10 Indian Food Items That You Must Try Once In A Lifetime]
Nevries (also known as Nevreo/ Neurio) are the most integral part of the Christmas plate of delicacies known as Kuswar in Karnataka and Consoada in Goa. The stuffing for these half-moon/crescent-shaped sweet puffs contains cardamom-flavoured coconut, cashews, semolina, and raisins. They have a light and crisp exterior and a delicate and sweet inside. Given their flavour and texture, they are never overly sweet, as the fresh coconut adds moistness to the interior, which contrasts nicely with the crunchy texture of their outer layer. Every mouthful of the Nevrie represents joy!
Where to try it: Vas Bakery, Mangalore, Karnataka. The bakery lies in Bendore Church Road, Mangalore. No matter where you are, you can easily book a car rental in Mangalore with a local driver to take you to Vas Bakery.
Kul Kuls (pronounced as Kalkals) are traditional Indian Christmas sweets that are formed into little curls. These are deep-fried, sweet pastry nibbles that are served on every Indian Christmas plate. It is prepared during Christmas by Indian Catholics in Mangaloreans, Goans and Maharashtra. Some claim that Kulkuls are a version of the Portuguese Filhoses Enroladas, which is a deep-fried, glazed roll or curvy noodle shaped Christmas treat. It is believed that the Portuguese brought Kulkuls to India. Also called Kidyo in Goa, these mouthwatering snack items are deep-fried instead of being baked and are then rolled into sugar to add that extra flavour. Be prepared for these tiny pieces to melt into your mouth giving your senses a treat!
Where to try it: St. Joseph’s Bakery in Mapusa & Braganza Stores, Goa. Mapusa is also renowned for its spices, cashew nuts and fenny, so a food journey to Mapusa is totally worth it! You can easily book a car rental with a local driver to take you to this bakery and make the most out of the festive season!
Also known as ‘bibik’, this Portuguese-influenced dessert is undisputedly the most popular Christmas delicacy in Goa. This indeed has earned Bebinca the sobriquet of ‘Queen of Goan Desserts’. However, its origin is still shrouded in mystery. Some legends claim that Bebinca was invented by Portuguese nuns in the 17th century. But what stands out is their zero-waste baking approach.
Legend has it that Bebinca came to be a solution to leftover egg yolks. It is believed that a nun called Bebiana invented a seven-layered pudding using leftover yolks to symbolize the seven hills of the old city of Goa and Lisbon. This pudding was then sent to the priests, who although impressed, pointed out that seven layers weren’t enough for them. They advised her to increase the dessert’s size to accommodate at least a dozen layers. Today, this coconut, jaggery and flour concoction is known as Bebinca in her honour and boasts from 7 to as many as 16 layers of deliciousness.
Where to try it: La Confiserie Bakery, Candolim, Goa. We highly recommend trying out their delicious banana cakes and carrot cakes too. The bakery in Camotim Vaddo is simply a tap away, as you can book a Goa taxi to this bakery.
The Christmas platter is incomplete without the very special Goan Bolinhas. Bolinhas are cardamom flavoured coconut and semolina cake-like cookies. When they come out of the oven, they are a little crisp/crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. When they cool, their texture changes into a melt-in-the-mouth cloud of coconut and semolina with the wonderful taste of cardamom whispering from the background. You just have to bite into this divine cookie to experience a burst of coconut flavour as they crumble and melt in your mouth.
Where to try it: Dom Pedros, Margao, Goa. Margao is also known for its street food, with crispy cutlet in the traditional Goan pao being extremely popular. Book an hourly rental in Goa with a local driver, and stop by Remy’s Cutlet Pav on your way. You will not regret it!
5. Guava Cheese
Guava Cheese, also known as Perad, is one of the most delectable traditional Indian Christmas sweets specially prepared during the Christmas period! It is another multicultural dish that can be traced to Portuguese colonialists. Both chewy and fudgy, there’s a mouthful of Guava in every bite. East Indians and Goans in India usually make this guava sweet for Christmas. These cheesy and tempting chunks will leave you wanting more.
Where to try it: Vienna Bakery, Santacruz, Mumbai. The Bakery is also renowned for its delicious Banana Wafers and Chicken Pattice, so book a car rental in Mumbai to take you here and buy lots of traditional Indian Christmas sweets for your friends and family.
[Also Read: A local’s guide to exploring Kochi]
6. Rose Cookies
Rose Cookies, also known as Achappam in Kerala, is the typical Anglo Indian cookie and the favourite among Indian Christians during the Christmas season. Some call them Rose cookies and some call them Rose Cake, these are Rosettes. They are amazingly crisp, deep-fried, sweet cookies that make an appearance on a lot of Christmas Kuswar platters. They are so addictive, they can be enjoyed any time of the year. In India, coconut milk is added to the batter to have its distinct taste. They are made from flour, sugar, eggs and coconut milk and are very popular in South India, especially in Kerala.
Where to try it: Supreme Bakers Kochi, Kerala. The bakery serves an assortment of treats such as cakes, pastries, cookies, snacks, puddings, mousse, cheesecakes and muffins. You can also place an order for a sinfully indulgent and decadent designer Christmas cake. Book a taxi in Kochi with a local driver to take you here.
7. Christmas Plum Cake
The Plum Cake is a Christmas must-have! Christmas in India isn’t complete without a slice of this flavour-packed goodness. It is interesting to know that the first Christmas fruitcake of India came from Thalassery, a small coastal town in Kerala. The first bakery was the Royal Biscuit Factory established in 1880 by Mambally Bapu. It was 1883 when Murdoch Brown, a British planter, gave Bapu a sample of the plum cake which he brought from England. He requested Bapu to recreate it. Bapu gave his twist to the cake by adding in spices and a local brew made using cashew apple and banana.
Mr Brown was surprised at the outcome and asked Bapu to make a dozen more. Since that day, Thalasserry has become a popular destination for Christmas cake lovers, and Bapu has gone on to develop more bakeries around the state. Every year, Thalassery is swamped with Christmas cake orders, to the point where several bakeries exclusively stock these boozy delights and refuse other orders for the month. With a luscious excess of rum-soaked fruits, this Christmas Plum Cake promises an explosion of flavours that shall return you to childhood.
Where to try it: Mambally Royal Biscuit Factory, Thalassery, Kerala.
8. Sticky Rice Cakes
Sticky rice cake is big in Nagaland and Manipur during Christmas. This moderately sweet, chewy, and satisfying dessert is also called Niekhrùda in Nagaland and tanghou and haokhamui in Manipur. It is made of pounded sticky rice powder mixed with sugar or salt, wrapped in plantain leaves and steamed. This traditional rice cake is steamed for a silky, chewy texture and a mildly sweet, milky flavour. If it’s your first exposure to glutinous rice for desserts, then you’re in for a treat!
Where to try it: Popular Bakery, Kohima, Nagaland. The bakery is also known for serving delicious chicken manchurian and fried prawn, which can be the perfect addition to balance out the sweetness of the sweetmeats. Book a car rental to NH 39, P.R. Hill, Kohima with a local driver and indulge in the North-Eastern flavour of Christmas.
So are you salivating yet? Whether you’re in Northern India or Southern, East or West, these delicious Christmas treats await you at every corner. It’s time to head out, and experience the real taste of Christmas now that you know where the best ones are! Book a car rental to take you to all these places with a local driver. Install Savaari cab booking app for offers and discounts on outstation rentals.