Food is the cornerstone of the holiday season. It brings friends and family together to share memories, cultural traditions, and great flavors.

From figgy pudding to fruit cake, many foods may bring on the holiday cheer — or a foul taste in your mouth. Depending on where you live, foods that are considered a normal part of the holiday feast to some may seem downright strange to others.

Here are 15 unique holiday foods enjoyed around the world.

bûche de Noël (holiday dish from France)
1. Bûche de Noël (France)

Also known as Yule log, bûche de Noël is a sweet dessert served in France during the Christmas season.

Though there are many variations, one of the most common types is made with heavy cream, cocoa powder, eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract. It’s commonly decorated with icing sugar and fruit.

Bûche de Noël commemorates the tradition of cutting and burning a specially selected log known as the Yule log. This pagan tradition was introduced to the Christian holiday many centuries ago.

Most enjoy this dessert between Christmas Eve (December 24th) and New Year (January 1st).

2. Shuba (Russia)
Shuba (holiday dish from Russia)While most countries celebrate Christmas on December 25th, Russia is one of the few countries that celebrates this holiday on January 7th in accordance with the Orthodox Julian calendar.Colloquially known as “herring under a fur coat,” shuba is a popular dish served during the holiday season in Russia. Its main ingredients include pickled herring, hard-boiled eggs, mayonnaise, and grated vegetables like carrots, beets, potatoes, and onions.The dish gets its name from its top layer, which is usually made of mayonnaise or a beet dressing that resembles a warm winter coat.

While this may seem like an unconventional dish, it’s an excellent source of protein, potassium, antioxidants, and vitamins A and B (1

Similarly to Ethiopia’s national dish, doro wat (chicken stew), yebeg wot is a popular lamb stew served during the holiday season.

Weeks prior to the holidays, farmers feed lambs a high calorie diet. This leads to fatty, tender meat, which is added to a stew made of onions, tomatoes, garlic, kibbeh (Ethiopian butter), berbere spice mix, and various spices.

Many serve yebeg wot with injera, a popular flatbread.

This dish is a rich source of protein, carbs, and antioxidants.

4. Spiced hot chocolate (Peru)
Spiced hot chocolate from Peru

If you think you know how to make the best hot chocolate, you may want to give Peru’s spiced hot chocolate a try.

If you think you know how to make the best hot chocolate, you may want to give Peru’s spiced hot chocolate a try.

This creamy hot chocolate with a kick is made with chocolate, condensed or evaporated milk, and a combination of spices, such as cinnamon, chili powder, cloves, and nutmeg.

In fact, this beverage is so popular that it has its own event known as la Chocolatadas, during which people gather and serve spiced hot chocolate with a popular cake known as panetón.

5. Mince pie (England)
Mince pie (holiday dish from England)Also known as mincemeat or Christmas pie, mince pie is a widely popular and historical holiday dessert.Despite its name, most modern mincemeat pies are meatless. Traditionally, mince pies were made of shredded beef or mutton, suet, dried fruit, and spices.However, most varieties today simply consist of pastry dough, dried apples and raisins, distilled spirits, vegetable shortening, and a spice mixture containing nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon.

Interestingly, the pies used to be oblongly shaped to represent a manger, although most mince pies served today are circular.