If your love of Christmas and all things sweet borders on a Buddy the elf-like obsession, then this one's for you. We asked our global teams on Deliveroo for the festive puddings and desserts they just couldn't imagine Christmas without.
You know Christmas has started when someone brings out the mince pies – and it's never too early to eat one. These mini shortcrust pastries are filled with mincemeat, but we're not talking ground beef. They did start out with a meat filling way back when, but now they're a mix of dried fruit, sweet spices, like nutmeg and cinnamon, candied peel and suet – traditionally hardened beef fat, but you can buy veggie-friendly varieties too. They're best served with a blob of brandy butter and a cheesy Christmas playlist in the background.
Clootie dumplings – Scotland
This classic Scottish pudding is most associated with Christmas and Hogmanay – Scotland's New Year's Eve celebrations. It's a spiced fruit pudding, polka dotted with dried fruit, that's wrapped in a cloot (a cloth) and then steamed. To get the full clootie dumpling experience, you need to try this with a generous heap of clotted cream and a wee dram of whisky.
Scottish tablet – Scotland
If you've got Scottish flatmates, chances are they'll come back after Christmas with a tub of home-made tablet. Often given as a gift, this is a sugary, buttery, crumbly confectionary (basically everything you want from a sweet) that's made with condensed milk. It's kind of like fudge but not quite as soft, and it's an absolute winner if you've got a serious sweet-tooth.
If you pop open a box of panettone, you get that instant hit of Christmas – just the smell of sweet dried fruit, candied citrus and buttery sponge is enough to make you feel all warm, fuzzy and festive inside. This traditional cylindrical loaf originated in Milan and has a distinct cupola (dome) top that'll make the perfect centrepiece for a big get-together.
This classic Italian nougat is a big hit at Christmas and during the winter months in Italy. It's a chewy mix of egg whites, honey, orange and toasted almonds that's traditionally topped with a fine layer of edible rice paper to make it easier to slice and share.
Bûche de Noël
As part of the huge Réveillon de Noël celebratory feast on Christmas Eve, after courses of oysters, foie gras and roast capon with chestnuts, dessert is all about the Bûche de Noël, or Yule log. This is a rolled sponge cake, traditionally made from a lighter-than-air genoise, with a creamy filling that's then decorated with rich chocolate buttercream on the outside to look like a log. It's then finished with a snowy dusting of icing sugar.
Of all the sweet dishes nominated by our Deliveroo teammates, stoofpeertjes, or stewed pears, are probably the most versatile. Pears are simmered in red wine and festive spices until they go ruby red and soak up all those poaching juices. And in the spirit of Christmas, this is the dish that keeps on giving – you can either serve it as a side with your meaty main course or add a delicious dollop of hangop, a thick yoghurt-like cream made with buttermilk, to turn it into dessert.
We've all got the bakers of Dresden to thank for the very first stollen. This fruity, spiced loaf is studded with candied orange and citrus peel and sometimes flavoured with marzipan, cardamon and a splash of rum to soak the fruit in. The finished loaf is then dusted with a snowfall of icing sugar – because if you can't add icing sugar to just about everything at Christmas, when can you?
If you love getting all wrapped up, sipping on a warm glass of glühwein and strolling around German Christmas markets, you'll have spotting a fair few lebkuchen on your travels. These gingerbread biscuits come in different varieties, including a softer round cookie or, as you've probably seen hanging from a market stall, harder heart-shaped ones, known as lebkuchenherzen. They're usually flavoured with ginger, cloves and allspice then frosted with brightly coloured icing and cute Christmassy messages.
A classic pavlova is a summertime staple in Australia and a must on the Christmas Day menu. Named after Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, it's a snowy mound of meringue, that's perfectly crisp on the outside and gooey in the middle, topped with peaks of whipped cream and seasonal berries. Set it in the centre of your dinner table, grab a massive spoon and dig in.
Chocolate, lots of chocolate
Around Christmas, Singapore goes in on all things chocolate. We're talking mugs of cosy hot chocolate, silky chocolate fondue, slabs of chocolate cake and scoop after scoop of chocolate ice cream. One ticket to Singapore, please.
Turrón de Jijona
Similar to Italian torrone, this is an almond and honey-based nougat, with a soft, chewy texture. There are different varieties enjoyed in Spain over Christmas, including the squidgy jijona and the turrón duro, which is more like brittle that you can snap into shards and share out.
This traditional tipple will get you feeling festive in no time. After a frosty Christmas Day walk, coming home to a hot toddy is the ultimate reward. It's a mix of whisky, hot water, honey, lemon juice and a slice of lemon that you can stud with cloves for an added Christmassy kick. And if you're struck down with a cold over the holidays, this is a tried and tested remedy that'll get you up and about in no time.
What sweet dishes couldn't you have Christmas without? And if you want to know what else gets our Deliveroo teammates in the mood for something festive, check out these savoury Christmas dishes from around the world.