Extraordinary local pastries from around the world

The world’s pastries range from the sublime to the ridiculous and we love them all


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How three simple ingredients: eggs, flour and butter make such an eclectic range of pastries, from the sweet and swirly to the crisp and savoury, is simply extraordinary. Across the globe different countries and cultures have created their own specialities, tastes and designs. Some are enjoyed at breakfast, others as rich after dinner treats. Here we explore some of our much-loved pastries drawn from some of our favourite destinations around the world. A selection inspired by the King’s tea tray and the floor of the South China Sea.


Mallorca – The Ensaimada

Mallorca’s ensaimada is the Balearic island’s most famous pastry. Originally created as a celebratory treat in the 17th century the spiral-shaped pastry comes in both sweet and savoury versions, either filled with cream, custard or chocolate and topped with apricots or almonds; or made with a rich chorizo paste (sobrasada). Each ensaimada is sprinkled with a dusting of sugar to represent the snow that falls on the Tramuntana Mountains in winter. You’ll find the island’s best ensaimada at Pastisseria l'Artesà, where the plump pastry twirls high into a mountainous peak. Devour one for breakfast over coffee or pick one up as a souvenir and take it home in their signature octagonal boxes.


London – Chelsea Bun

Taking its name from one of the British capital’s most distinguished districts, the Chelsea Bun is a sticky-sweet coil of dough covered in lemon peel, cinnamon, and glazed brown sugar, then studded with currants. Created in the 18th century at Chelsea’s Bun House, this iconic squidgy bake was a favourite of King George II, who used to visit the shop in the morning. No longer the preserve of royalty, Chelsea Buns can be found at all good London bakeries. For the freshest and finest in the capital, make a beeline for The Flour Station at gourmet favourite, Borough Market.


Dubai – Ma’amoul

Generously stuffed with local ingredients, including caramel-like dates, pistachios and figs, ma’amoul are an ancient Arabic pastry. Domed in shape, a rich, crumbly shortbread houses the fruit and nut-laden interior. Rose or orange blossom water are occasionally added, lending floral notes to the pastry. Ma’amoul are often eaten at religious holidays, such as Eid, but you’ll find them alongside other delicious Arabic sweets at bakeries year-round. In Dubai, call in to Arabesq at Dubai Mall to pick up some exquisitely boxed ma’amoul to take home.

maamoul extraordinary pastries around the world