Where to find your favourite Christmas desserts in the UAE!
Expat life is amazing – great weather, lots of travel, meeting so many different people and working in such a different environment. But in December it feels a bit different. Celebrating Christmas away from home is just not the same. The weather is different, your family may not be around, and your favourite food is not readily available either. It’s just a bit harder to get into the Christmas spirit. We’re here to help! We’ve already written about where to celebrate NYE, and about the various festive options in Abu Dhabi. So now let’s cover some specifics – Christmas desserts!
For those that don’t know mince pies, they’re traditional British pastries filled with a mix of dried fruits and spices, covered in a shortbread-like crust. History says that originally they would be a mix of savoury and sweet – think lamb, spices and raisins, but over time they have become just sweet and the savoury stuff is left to steak, chicken and lamb pies. Your go to place for mince pies in Dubai is of course Fortnum & Mason (Dubai Mall). In Abu Dhabi, Giornotte at The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal has fresh mince pies on offer (as well as Christmas pudding) on Christmas Eve and during their Christmas Day Brunch and the Meridien also serves them!
Christmas Pudding is another British tradition – made with dried fruits, treacle and different spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. Counter Culture at the Marriott Harbour in Dubai has Christmas Pudding (and stollen) and Fairways at Westin Abu Dhabi will have Christmas Pudding (and yule logs as well) at their festive dinner buffet which will run every day from the 13th to the 23rd of December.
Available in many flavours and colours, originally this cake was made of vanilla sponge cake iced with chocolate buttercream frosting, and then rolled up and frosted on the outside as well. This year Dolce Café at the Ritz Carlton Grand Canal in Abu Dhabi has a special Yule Log Market and Café 302 at Al Maha Arjaan Rotana sells chocolate and vanilla sponge logs (and baked apple stollen). If you want something more fancy try the special Christmas Eve menu at Sayad at Emirates Palace
Popular in Australia and New Zealand around the holidays and other celebrations, pavlova has a meringue base which is filled with fruit and whipped cream. This year The Forge at Ritz Carlton Grand Canal in Abu Dhabi will serve a Pavlova Vacherin at their Christmas Eve and Day dinners.
Originally German, but now sold and served in most European countries around Christmas and Easter, stollen is a bread with fruits, and can be stuffed with an almond paste (sometimes called marzipan although its different from the marzipan that is used to cover cakes). Most bakeries at hotels will sell stollen this time of year, but if you want it as part of a meal then head to Vendome at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, they will have it at their buffet on Christmas Eve, in addition to Counter Culture and Café 302 as mentioned above.