Baklava Baklava is a sweet lover’s kind of food. It’s a buttery, flaky, honey-drenched triangle or diamond, made of layers of paper-thin phyllo dough brushed with melted butter. The filling of chopped, spiced nuts (usually walnuts, but sometimes pistachios, sesame or poppy seeds) might mean you can convince yourself that this sugar coma on a plate is vaguely good for you. Where to find: Turkey, Greece, Iran or your local middle-eastern grocery or sweets shop. (Turkey and nearby)
Sfogliatelle/Cannoli (Italy) The sfogiatelle’s better known cannoli cousin is going to have to step to the side for just a moment. This clamshell-shaped layered dough (think of a thicker phyllo) is baked, split open and stuffed with cream or a ricotta-based lemon or orange-infused filling for a delectable treat that’s probably not on your doctor’s list of recommended snacks. Luckily your doctor didn’t come on vacation with you. A mangiare!
Tangyuan/ Yuanxiao (China, Taiwan) Finish up your meal here, particularly during the lantern festival, with pastel-colored tangyaun or yuanxiao (from the various parts of China), a little starchy sweet dumpling made from a dough of glutinous rice flour and hot water, filled with sesame paste, adzuki bean paste or other sweet fillings. This is served in a small bowl along with some of the water in which it was cooked.
Sernik (Poland) In Poland, if you haven’t come across a good babka, that marbley bready coffee cake of Seinfeld fame or the jam-filled cookies called kolaches (thumbprint cookies on your Christmas cookie-exchange), then you might opt to stop for a slice of sernik, a tasty Polish version of cheesecake, made with twarag cheese, and occasionally potatoes. It’s covered with a latticed top, and makes a great afternoon snack.