The Christmas holidays are closely tied to traditions. Every year, many of us put up the tree, pull out all the ornaments and decorations we’ve used for years, send out our Christmas cards, and gather with friends and family—and each family has its own special holiday traditions as well.
Foods play a big role in holiday traditions. The holiday turkey, cranberries, and gingerbread come quickly to mind.
You can see plenty of evidence of the traditional holiday flavors in special foods and flavors offered by some of our most popular restaurant chains and food companies.
This year Starbucks has hung holiday-flavored beverages on its menu with care: Peppermint Mocha, Gingerbread lattes, and a Caramel Brulée Latte are the designated holiday specials at America’s coffee house.
Dunkin’ Donuts, meanwhile, pours Pumpkin Spice and Mocha Mint coffees as its seasonal specials.
Pepperidge Farm has boxed a Homestyle Holiday Collection of cookies for 2010 featuring Gingerbread Men, Holiday Sugar Cookies and Holiday Chessman.
For the granola crowd, Clif Bar has brought out a trio of seasonal power bar flavors: Spiced Pumpkin Pie, Iced Gingerbread, and Cranberry-Orange Nut Bread.
Across the ocean, Chocolate Frey, Switzerland’s #1 chocolate maker, is mixing its chocolate with the holiday flavors of Gingerbread, Winter Fruit & Nut, and Cinnamon Coriander.
Then there are some lesser-known holiday flavors, like the new holiday soft drink flavor offered by those quirky folks at Jones Soda. In the past they’ve come out with such unlikely soda pop flavors such as Turkey & Gravy, Tofurky & Gravy, Christmas Ham, and Jelly Doughnut. This year’s holiday selection is…Bacon.
Bacon? Don’t know about you, but that doesn’t ring a jingle bell with me.
Food blogger Allison Beck, editor of The Daily Mail, suggests that the Blood Orange be included in the holiday discussion. With its vibrant red flesh, it certainly has the color for it. It’s sweeter, too, she says. Makes a festive and tasty garnish in soda and cocktails.
McCormick picks holiday pairings
The spice experts at McCormick have issued their Holiday Edition Flavor Pairings which included the following matches and descriptions:
- Pumpkin Pie Spice & Coconut
“The sweet, refreshing taste of coconut and the warming blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice add a touch of the exotic to holiday favorites and grown-up, contemporary sweets.”
- Sage & Citrus
“Long revered as turkey’s most famous flavor companion, fragrant sage is brightened by the zing of tart citrus. This year, expect the pair to show up in everything from appetizers to desserts.”
- Almond & Caramel
“The toasty notes of caramel enrobe the bittersweet and nutty flavor of almonds. A holiday match made in heaven, the duo inspires updated ideas for brunches, baked goods and even beverages.”
- Roasted Cinnamon & Bacon
Roasting robust cinnamon brings out its rounder, richer flavors – an unexpected partner for bacon’s distinctive smokiness.
— Hmmm. Maybe there is something to this holiday-bacon connection.
Finally, there’s the über traditional holiday beverage, eggnog.
Frank Bruni, writing for The New York Times, calls it a “dessert in drag” that should be resisted, especially at parties, where it will spoil the heartiest of appetites. “It’s a calorie extravaganza,” Bruni writes, “a cholesterol jubilee, ruling out any possibility of pacing by hogging all the nutritional naughtiness that should rightly be spread across the breadth of a cold December evening.”
Okay, I’m crossing eggnog off my holiday list. Never liked it that much anyway.
What’s your favorite holiday flavor?
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