Sweet Summer Treats Around The World

Pack your passport, sunscreen, and sweet tooth, globe trotter. It's time to taste the local flavor in the sweetest of ways.

No matter where you travel in the hotter months, nothing says “it’s summertime” quite like a sweet (and often cold) treat. From ice cream cones to avocado smoothies, different countries have their own idea of what the quintessential summer dessert looks like, but they’re all worth trying on your travels.

So let’s get a taste of the most delectable summertime desserts around the world.

Philippines: Halo-halo

Halo-halo in glass bowl

If you haven’t tried halo-halo, put this adored dessert at the top of your list. Translating to “mixed” in English, this colorful, multilayered dessert is made from a mixture of shaved ice and evaporated milk. Things like bananas, chickpeas, sweetened beans, purple yams, coconut, fruit, jello, flan, and ice cream are then added in.

This flavorful dessert has a rich history. Per Culture Trip, Halo-halo “dates back to the pre-war Japanese period and was introduced to the Filipinos by the Japanese settlers. According to historians, the Japanese had sweet desserts called ‘Mitsumame‘ or ‘mongo con hielo‘ and ‘kakigori’ which closely resemble the Filipinos’ Halo-halo.”

Brazil: Açaí na tigela

açaí bowl on yellow background

Açaí na tigela translates to “açaí in the bowl.” Acai bowls are incredibly popular stateside these days, but this frozen and mashed açaí palm fruit dish has been a Brazilian staple for decades upon decades.

These smoothie bowls are commonly topped with granola and banana. Then throw in some fruits, and guaraná syrup on top and do as the Brazilians do.

Germany: Pflaumenkuchen

Homemade plum pie covered with sweet meringue on a plate on a light background

While summer treats and ice cream are practically synonymous, some countries have been breaking that mold for a long time. Case in point: flaumenkuchen.

This summery cake boasts a buttery crust, a light streusel topping, and a juicy plum filling. In Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, this plum cake remains a must-indulge dessert for tourists and locals alike.

India: Kulfi

Rajasthani home made ready to eat kulfi - saffron or kesariya flavoured with pistachio, cashew and almonds

Kulfi might look like your average ice cream bar, but don’t let the coating fool you. It’s denser, creamier, and flavored with some of the most beloved spices in India.

You can make your own with a mixture of condensed milk, sugar, and rice or corn flour. The most traditional flavors include cream, rose, mango, cardamom, saffron, and pistachio.

Read More: The Strangest Food Festivals in The World

Canada: Tire sur la neige

Maple syrup candy on stick, Chupa Chups.

Sometimes called Canadian maple syrup taffy, tire sur la neige is a bite-sized burst of summery sweetness made from hot maple syrup and sugar. Tire sur la neige is most popular in french-speaking Canada and translates to “pull on the snow.”

After the maple syrup is poured, it is cooled on snow. Then it’s rolled onto sticks. In truth, this sweet treat is popular year-round. Still, nothing says summer like taffy on a stick.

Iran: Faloodeh

homemade faloodeh, traditional iranian cold dessert

This traditional Iranian cold dessert is sort of like a zesty sorbet. Concocted with thin vermicelli-sized noodles frozen with corn starch, rose water, and sugar, faloodeh is served with lime juice and oftentimes, ground pistachios.

Per Bastani Tehran, “legend has it that faloodeh was the first frozen dessert ever made–dating from around 400 BC–and that it was invented largely by accident when flavoring syrups were spilled on snow, and people realized that they could be transformed into a delicious treat.”

Italy: Tartufo

White tartufo on a plate

“Truffle” in Italian, Tartufo is a timeless and tasty Italian ice cream dessert. It’s made from two or more ice cream flavors with fruit syrup or frozen fruit once you make it to the middle.

This bellisima “ice cream ball” is perfectly preserved inside a shell made of chocolate or cocoa and topped with sprinkled cinnamon, nuts, or chocolate shavings.

Hawaii: Kakigōri

Shave Ice Hawaii local food woman eating hawaiian shaved ice cream treat in Honolulu Waikiki beach

“Shave ice” is a summertime treat you’re probably familiar with, but, kakigori has its own special spin. The recipe is simple, but the result is always gram-worthy. Flavored with syrup, sweetener, and often condensed milk, many call kakagori a sweet work of art.

As noted by The Guardian, this traditional treat “grew in popularly from the seventh and ninth centuries A.D. To cool off, Japanese immigrants in Hawaii used their tools to shave flakes off large blocks of ice, and then coated it with sugar or fruit juice.”

Read More: Where The Locals Go: Hawaii

Vietnam: Sinh To Bo

avocado smoothie vietnamese drink

Don’t knock this uniquely delicious smoothie until you’ve tried it. Sinh tố bơ is a sweet, dense, and creamy shake of sorts made with ripe avocados, milk, sweetened condensed milk, and ice.

While thought of as savory in many other cultures, avocadoes are commonly used in Vietnamese desserts. A go-to in the summer heat, Sinh Tố Bơ remains a beloved treat. Per Delish, “avocadoes were brought to Vietnam in the 19th century by French colonizers and can now be seen most commonly in the popular snack.”

France: Café liégeois

Martini glass with delicious coffee and whipped cream

Summertime is the perfect time for ice cream morning, noon, or night. This chilly, french dessert is lightly sweetened with coffee, coffee-flavored ice cream, and topped with whipped cream and crushed, roasted coffee beans atop Chantilly.

And I highly suggest making it the most decadent summer breakfast dessert you’ve ever had at least once.

Turkey: Dondurma

Dondurma (or MaraÅŸ ice cream)

This taffy-like Turkish mastic ice cream stands out from the crowd for a number of reasons. Sometimes called “stretchy ice cream,” it’s made of mastic (a resin obtained from the mastic tree), cream, whipped cream, salep, and sugar.

If you’re wandering around Turkey in the summertime, it won’t be difficult to find vendors paddle churning and selling dondurma. As noted by The Gulf Times, “the origin of the dondurma goes back to 300 to 500 years approximately,” and the long-held tradition is still honored today.

Mexico: Paletas

Paleta ice cream bars

First created in Mexico, paletas have gradually become a stateside summer treat, and my personal favorite. “Paleta” roughly translates to “little stick.” But make no mistake, there’s way more going on (and going into it) than your typical popsicle.

Fragrant and aromatic, they’re layered with fruit chunks and herbs. These frozen ice cream treats are also surprisingly refreshing. Flavor options are practically endless, but some of the most popular are strawberry, watermelon, tamarind, spicy chile mango, and cinnamon filled with goat’s milk caramel.

The origins of paletas aren’t totally clear, but you’ll be tasting an undeniably delicious tradition worth writing home about.

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