Greek Christmas cookies

There are many dishes are cooking during Greek Xmas, but melomakarona and kourabiedes are most famous. You can meet them in any family.

The two traditional Christmas sweets are an integral part of Christmas and New Year’s festivities and are present at almost every table.

The word is coming from the medieval Greek word “Makaronia” (Μακαρωνία), which was a food eaten at a meal after funerals. It was based on pasta, and signified that the deceased was blessed, happy and lucky.

Makaronia, in turn, comes from the ancient Greek word “makaria”, which was a piece of bread having the egg shape of the modern melomakarono. This also was offered after a funeral.

Later, when makaria were dipped in honey (“meli” in Greek), the piece of bread was named melomakarono. This eventually became the most popular sweet eaten during the twelve days of Christmas. Greeks in Asia Minor also ate this delicacy but gave them the name “phoenikia”.

Kourabiedes (singular kourabies), the other Greek Christmas staple, originated from Turkey, where they are called kurabiye. In Turkish etymology the word is from the root “kuru” (dry), and “biye” (biscuit). It is a rounded butter cookie with pieces of almond inside, the entire outside covered in powdered sugar.

The Latin version of the bis-cuit traveled to Asia with the Venetian seafarers and merchants. On the way there, the Latin word was corrupted to “biya/biye” and “qura/kuru” (dry in Turkish), forming the word kurabiye.

Today’s melomakarona contain chopped walnuts and are sprinkled with ground walnuts as well. More modern versions have them enrobed in dark chocolate.

Source : Wikipedia.

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