Traditional Venezuelan Desserts for the Holidays

As in most Latin countries, Venezuelan meals are tasty and deliciosas, especially during the holidays. Actually, if we talk about foods made with love and Latin passion, we cannot forget to mention Venezuelan desserts. Venezuelan gastronomy is a unique blend of influences from the continent, inspired by European and African culture that can convey that warmth and sweetness of the holiday season. For those of you who love sweets, here is a list of traditional Venezuelan desserts you can try that are sure to captivate your friends, family and guests during the most beautiful period of the year!

Ponche crema or Venezuelan Eggnog 

In the United States, you’ll hear that Eggnog is a favored holiday drink. Well, Venezuelans also have a similar and equally delicious drink! It’s called Ponche Crema. It’s not a dessert as such but a very sweet drink based on cream and liquor that has become an essential drink during the holidays since it originated. While Ponche Crema recipes vary by region, the main ingredients typically include milk, sugar, eggs, rum, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Venezuelan Ponche Crema is usually served with ice in small cups as an appetizer!

Dulce de Lechosa or Candied Papaya 

This is definitely a favorite dessert among Venezuelans in December! If you are Venezuelan or have appreciated the country’s beautiful culture, you will know that the homes of Venezuelan Abuelitas are filled with the smell of Dulce de Lechosas when Christmas is coming. We know not everyone likes the taste of papaya, or extra sweet candy but paired together in a simply yet complimenting way, few people can resist the incredibly sweet taste of Venezuelan Dulce de Lechosa. 

If you want to prepare this traditional dessert, you will need grated green papaya, sugar and spices such as cloves and cinnamon. After several hours of simmering, you will have a sweet brown delicacy with a magical scent that fills hearts and homes! Sabroso!

Quesillo or Caramel Flan Pudding 

Quesillo is an excellent Venezuelan sweet cuisine! It’s usually served on birthdays and family celebrations, but it has also gained an important role in Christmas dishes. Quesillo can be described similar to a flan, but there are important differences between the original dessert and the Venezuelan version. For example, the Venezuelan Quesillo recipe includes both egg yolks and egg whites. It also includes other ingredients, such as condensed milk, vanilla, and milk. And, of course, the Caribbean version has its original touch: rum. Add some liquor to the Quesillos preparation to give it a fun taste and texture!

Torta Negra Navideña or Christmas Black Cake

Torta Negra Navideña, known as Christmas Black Cake by some is a traditional Venezuelan dessert.  While this delicious dessert may have a European origin, Venezuela has created a wonderful and very aromatic version that has won an important place on the tables of Venezuelan families during the holidays. The Torta Negra Navideña has some typical ingredients from the Old Continent, including nuts, candied fruits, and hazelnuts. In addition, as a special touch, bakers add a little bit of traditional Caribbean alcoholic beverages, such as brandy or rum. Also, Venezuelans usually use raw cane sugar instead of ordinary white sugar to give it a juicier texture! This Venezuelan cake is especially known for its delicious aroma and contrast of refined flavors making it an excellent alternative if you want to surprise your guests with something delicious and sweet.

Venezuela gastronomy is as rich and colorful as its culture! If you want to know how a real Venezuelan Navidad feels, smells and tastes, you should give these delicious desserts a try. You won’t regret it!

Angie is an ESL teacher, journalist and content creator based in Venezuela. She has worked with bicultural institutes and enjoys writing about education, culture and technology.