In Prague, I was introduced to a new-sweet tradition: Trdelnik. From a distance this holiday snack looks more like a pretzel than a pastry. But up close their sweet smell and cinnamon-sugar coating assures you they're anything but savory. I did a little research and found out, though not Czech in origin, trdelnik has some what of a cult following at Prague's Christmas villages and throughout a number of other Easter European countries this time of year!
But here's what's really interesting. Trdelnik, created in Hungary in the early 19th century, and has become such an iconic dish that it's the only Slovakian food product to receive "protected geographic indication" status in the EU. Basically, it's the only food that slovakia has deemed important enough to have registered as theirs and theirs alone...and I thought I was protective of my recipes...
Back to Trdelnik. If you're looking for a new christmas sweets, and want to give these babies a go, you can actually replicate the pastries at home without an iron rod (lucky us.) Check out this authentic recipe on Recipezaar, it's been translated to English straight from the kitchen of a Czech chef. Instead of using the an open fire and a molten pole, whip up this buttery-yeasty dough, wrap it around a buttered wooden rod and cook it right over your barbecue.
The trdelnik I shared with DF was speckled with chopped pistachios. Many recipes call for walnuts, but definitely give pistachios a try. They're far more tasty (in my opinion) and the pretty green garnish makes these international holiday sweets extra festive :)