10 sweets and confectionery from around the world

4 Oct 2022

Food + Drink

We’re all partial to a treat now and again but have you heard of these magical sweets and confectionery from around the world? Tick off the ones you’ve tried!

Here at Hotel Chocolat, we pride ourselves on our innovation, creativity and of course our indulgent, high-quality ingredients. We take inspiration from everything we adore – from our cacao farm’s lush rainforest surroundings to classic  British desserts and tipples from around the world. Discover the origins of ten of our favourite sweets and confectionery.

Desserts, sweets, and confectionery in a patisserie window

Sweets, confectionery, and desserts from around the world

If you love to travel and have a passion for cacao, join us as we embark on an adventure around the globe. Here are ten of our favourite sweets and confectionery treats.

1. Churros from Spain

Churros are delicious deep-fried sticks of dough. Though they originated in Spain and Portugal, you’ll see that people from all around the world now adore them – including in the United States, South America, and The Philippines.

You’ll often find street vendors serving churros. Following traditional recipes, they’ve perfected the art of achieving a crispy golden outside and soft doughy interior.

Churros consist of a choux-like pastry, which is piped into a star-shaped nozzle to give it its distinct shape. The pastry is doused in hot oil and fried until it turns a deep golden brown. For the final flourish, the churros receive a heavy dusting of sugar.

Although they are sweet, it is Spanish tradition to eat churros for breakfast. Best of all, they often come alongside a rich, thick hot chocolate or dulce de leche. Whether you dunk or drizzle, this pairing makes a delightfully decadent treat.

Fancy making your own churros? Get creative and take a look at our guide to making tasty chocolate-dipped treats.

Churros and a cup of melted chocolate

2. Alfajores de chocolate from Argentina

Chocolate alfajores, otherwise known also as ‘alfajores de chocolate,’ are a popular South American, dessert. Featuring sweet shortbread biscuits and a filling of the much-loved dulce de leche (a creamy milk caramel), these sandwich cookies closely resemble a chocolate macaron.

Anything with a rich caramel filling and a deep chocolate flavour gets our vote. And they’re even better when dipped whole into thick, smooth milk chocolate.

Alfajores de chocolate from Argentina

3. Baklava from the Middle East

You might discover this flaky, sweet, honey-drenched treat while soaking up the sun on holiday in Turkey, or at the end of a meal with coffee. In many cafes across Europe, it’s popular as a mid-morning snack these days. We are, of course, talking about delicious Middle Eastern Baklava.

Baklava is made from layers of wafer-thin filo pastry, chopped nuts, butter and a sweet syrup often fragranced with exotic flavours like orange blossom, or rose water. Its shape, sizes and flavours vary – from pistachio crumb-topped triangles to date and walnut strudels, baklava from around the world is a sweet, delectable treat that’s a surprise every time.

Now known and loved from Uzbekistan to north Africa, baklava is often found in huge glistening trays across bakeries and cafe countertops across Europe and the rest of the world.

Our favourite baklava flavour combination has to be the unmistakable delicious pairing of sweet honey and nutty pistachio. Why not try the Baklava Chocolate Selector? Our take on the classic melt-in-the-mouth take on Baklava, with a surprising yet irresistible crunch.

Slices of Baklava on a silver plate

4. Turkish delight from Turkey

Another delectable sweet you may have tried in Turkey is the world-famous Turkish Delight. A firm favourite with those who like to give the gift of sweet treats at Christmas. But we think these sticky, moreish squares should be enjoyed all year round.

Dusted with icing sugar, these plump, fragrant sweets come in a variety of flavours. Our favourite has to be the classic rose and lemon pairing. Historically known as ‘comfort of the throat’ in Arabic, these sugary treats were exchanged by European socialites, wrapped in silk handkerchiefs.

Our very own Turkish Delights come in a beautiful wooden keepsake box.

Two cubes of Turkish Delight beside a Turkish coffee

5. Melomakarona cookies from Cyprus

The Cypriotic Melomakarona cookies were traditionally made and given as gifts at Christmas time, filling homes with the unmistakably festive scent of warm cinnamon and clove spices.

These little nuggets of joy are sweet, soft and cakey in texture, with a surprising crunch of nutty bite running through them. The flavours are also in abundance – warm spices offsetting fresh, bright orange juice and sweet, indulgent honey. The cookies are made with olive oil, paying homage to their Mediterranean roots.

6. Coconut candy from Vietnam

‘Kẹo dừa’ or coconut candy, is a Vietnamese treat made from coconut milk and coconut cream. The Ben Tre Province from where it originates is nicknamed by the Vietnamese as the “Land of Coconut” (Xu Dua).

After grating fresh coconut flesh, confectioners will press it to extract coconut milk and coconut cream. They then add malt syrup and sugar before heating the mixture to a high temperature. The concoction caramelises, creating a gorgeous thick texture. Once cooled, it’s cut into rectangular lozenges and packaged up.

If coconut is one of your favourite exotic flavours, why not try our Chocolate Coconut Truffles? These smooth bites are brimming with notes of sun-kissed coconut and encased in our signature milk chocolate. A dusting of dried coconut adds a delicious nibbly texture.

Coconut candy from Vietnam

7. Pacoca from Brazil

Pacoca originates from the traditional Brazilian Caipira cuisine, and is popular in Brazil’s southeast region. During Festa Junina, an annual celebration of the Caipira lifestyle, many people make these treats at home.

The candy traditionally consists of ground peanuts, sugar and salt. Recipes vary but often include corn, oat, or cassava flour to lend a distinct dry texture. The word Pacoca actually means ‘to crumble’ – playing into its deliciously brittle consistency.

People using a pestle and mortar to make pacoca from peanuts

8. Mochi ice cream from Japan

You may have noticed that Japanese mochi ice cream has been almost impossible to escape in recent years. Mochi is a traditional Japanese rice cake, made from mochigome (a type of short-grain rice) water, sugar, and cornstarch. The round balls of chewy rice dough feature a filling of ice cream in a variety of different flavours.

Eating mochi is a unique experience. A casing of soft pillowy dough hides a cold and refreshing ice cream centre. It’s a delight for the senses. You’ll usually find mochi in bite-sized portions, making them the perfect snack on a summer afternoon.

Mochi and tea

9. Saltwater taffy from the USA

We’re nipping over the States for our next global confectionery craze: saltwater taffy.

It might not sound like a sweet treat, but taffy is a type of American candy made by ‘pulling’ a mass of soft candy as a base. The candy, which consists of boiled sugar, butter and vegetable oil, becomes stretched and aerated, forming a light and fluffy candy chew. Confectioners roll the taffy into long strips then chop it into smaller pieces.

Contrary to its name, saltwater taffy doesn’t include any seawater. It does, however, contain both salt and water in its manufacturing process. Often, taffy has a beautiful pastel colour and features fruity flavours or molasses with a sprinkling of salt.

Taffy squares wrapped in colourful paper

10. Tablet from Scotland

Tablet (or taiblet in Scots) is a melt-in-the-mouth confectionery from the highlands of Scotland. Made from sugar and cream, the original recipe dates back to the 1700s, where it was featured in The Household Book of Lady Grisell Baillie.

Modern-day tablet uses condensed milk and butter in place of cream, to avoid burning. It also tends to include fondant to prolong shelf life. You can find tablet varieties that include vanilla, nuts, and whisky, too.

Traditionally, Scottish tablet is an after-dinner sweet, and lots of couples serve it as wedding favours.

Scottish tablet pieces

Patisserie chocolates: our take on classic cakes, bakes and desserts

Cakes, puddings and pastries galore, our Patisserie creations are a dream for anyone who adores desserts. We love trying different sweets and confectionery from around the world and have developed a range of truffles, filled chocolates, and biscuits inspired by global delights.

From our classic bakes based on British desserts to Italian Tiramisu, French Chocolate Macarons, and Pecan Danish – there’s something for everyone.