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Greek Christmas Cookies: Melomakarona

Yes, I am dedicating an entire blog post to these special, honey-laden treats. If you've tried them, you'll understand why. With Christmas and the festive season rapidly approaching, I wanted to take this opportunity to give some background on one of Greece's favourite Christmas treats, melomakarona! 🤗

•μελομακάρονα• "me-lo-ma-ká-ro-na"

What are melomakarona? Melomakarona are a traditional Greek cookie/biscuit that are commonly served around the Christmas and holiday season in Greek households. It is also common to see them sold at shops and given as gifts on display on the table when visitors come to someone's home. They are known for their rich flavors and are often a favorite among those who enjoy traditional Greek desserts. People usually have a favorite between melomakarona and another beloved Greek Christmas cookie, kourambiedes, which I'll write about in another post.

Some of the most popular ingredients in these delicious cookies include honey, orange juice, cinnamon, and walnuts. 🍯🍊The soft, egg-shaped biscuit is baked and then soaked in a fragrant syrup flavored with orange juice before being topped with chopped walnuts and then enjoyed. The texture of the sweet treat is moist and crumbly.

Melomakarona hold significant cultural and traditional importance in Greece, especially during the Christmas season. They are an integral part of Greek holiday customs and are deeply associated with the festive spirit and celebrations. This beloved traditional Greek dessert signifies the joyous celebration of Christmas; families and communities gather to make these cookies, often passing down recipes through generations. Today, some recipes have become modernized; for example, people may make melomakarona and then add a rich layer of chocolate on top so that the cookies are covered in chocolate and then enjoyed. Yum!

Although recipes vary from family to family or region to region, the act of sharing and exchanging melomakarona during the holidays are common practices that symbolize warmth, love, and togetherness within a community. In fact, the process of making melomakarona is often a communal activity, bringing together family members or communities to prepare these cookies in large batches. This fosters a sense of unity and shared experience during the holiday season. Offering melomakarona is a way of extending good wishes and hospitality, which Greeks are well-known for. Greeks often offer these cookies to friends, family, neighbors, and visitors during the holiday season as a gesture of kindness, friendship, and well-wishing for the upcoming year.

Melomakarona also showcase the rich culinary heritage of Greece through the inclusion and usage of local ingredients like olive oil and honey, along with aromatic spices, which reflects the country's culinary traditions and ties to the land.

Overall, melomakarona are much more than just cookies in Greece; they represent a deep-rooted tradition of sharing, togetherness, and spreading joy and goodwill during the festive period. Let me know if you are team #melomakarona or team #kourambiedes and/or if you'd like a recipe so that you can try these delicious cookies!


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