World Rum Day 2023:7 Rum-And-Raisin Dishes From Around The World
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Every year on the second Saturday of July, the world comes together to celebrate one of the most incredible liquors in the world, Rum. World Rum Day was launched in 2019 by Paul Jackson, the spirits writer and editor of World Rum Guide, to celebrate rum, rum distilleries and rum creations—whether they are desserts, snacks or cocktails. In 2023, World Rum Day falls on July 8, and this is the perfect occasion to celebrate rum and the one ingredient is has been paired with since forever: raisins! 

The combination of rum and raisins as a culinary pairing has a rich history that can be traced back to the colonial era in Europe. The exact origin of this combination is difficult to pinpoint, but it is believed to have emerged in the 17th or 18th century. During this time, rum production was booming in the Caribbean, particularly in regions such as Jamaica and Barbados. The availability and affordability of rum made it a popular spirit among sailors, merchants, and colonial settlers.  

Meanwhile, raisins, which were already prized as a dried fruit, were commonly used in various European cuisines. The pairing of rum and raisins likely evolved as a way to enhance the flavor and texture of dried fruits. Soaking raisins in rum provided a means of preserving the fruit while infusing it with the rich, distinctive flavors of the spirit. The sweetness of the raisins and the complexity of rum complemented each other, creating a delightful combination. 

Over time, this combination of rum and raisins became popular in recipes such as fruitcakes, puddings, and other baked goods. It spread from Europe to other parts of the world, where it continues to be appreciated as a delicious and indulgent treat. Today, as the world celebrates the flavours of rum, indulging in some rum and raisin dishes is the best thing you can do. If you want to get on with this adventure, here are a few classic and traditional rum-and-raisin dishes from around the world.  

Video Credit: YouTube/Jolie.kitchen25

Rum Cake – Caribbean Islands

Rum cake is a popular dessert originating from the Caribbean islands. It is a moist and dense cake made with rum-infused batter and often includes rum-soaked raisins. The cake celebrates the flavors of rum and raisin by incorporating them directly into the recipe. The rum lends a distinct, boozy flavor, while the raisins add a sweet and chewy texture. The combination creates a delightful harmony of rich, caramelized notes from the rum and bursts of sweetness from the plump raisins, making it a beloved treat in the Caribbean culinary tradition. 

Babka – Poland

Babka is a traditional Polish sweet bread or cake that is often associated with holiday celebrations. It features a rich, buttery dough swirled with a sweet filling, which can include a variety of ingredients such as chocolate, cinnamon, or fruit. In some versions of Babka, rum-soaked raisins are used as a filling. The flavors of rum and raisin infuse the bread, providing a delightful combination of sweetness and a subtle hint of the warm, rich notes of rum throughout each slice. 

Baba Au Rum – France

Baba Au Rum, also known as Rum Baba, is a classic French dessert that showcases the flavors of rum and raisin in a delightful way. It is a yeasted cake soaked in a syrup made with rum and often flavored with vanilla or citrus. The cake is typically garnished with whipped cream and sometimes even served with additional rum or a rum-infused fruit compote. The combination of the moist, rum-infused cake and the plump, boozy raisins creates a harmonious blend of flavors that is indulgent and satisfying. 

Mazanec – Czech Republic 

Mazanec is a traditional Czech Easter bread that celebrates the flavors of rum and raisin in a unique way. It is a sweet and aromatic bread enriched with eggs, butter, and warm spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. While rum and raisins are not typically included in the basic recipe, some variations of Mazanec incorporate these ingredients. The addition of rum-soaked raisins infuses the bread with a delightful sweetness and a subtle boozy flavor, adding depth and complexity to this beloved Czech Easter treat. 

Kozinjak – North Macedonia 

Kozinjac is a traditional dessert from North Macedonia that showcases the flavors of rum and raisin in a delicious manner. It is a dense and moist cake made with semolina, butter, eggs, sugar, and flavored with aromatic ingredients like vanilla and lemon zest. Kozinjac often includes rum-soaked raisins in its preparation, which impart a burst of sweetness and a subtle hint of rum throughout the cake. The combination of the tender crumb, the plump raisins, and the warm notes of rum creates a delightful symphony of flavors in this beloved Macedonian dessert. 

Gundel Palacsinta – Hungary

Gundel Palacsinta is a famous Hungarian dessert that celebrates the flavors of rum and raisin in a delectable way. It consists of thin crepes filled with a sweet mixture of ground walnuts, rum-soaked raisins, and other ingredients like sugar and cinnamon. The filled crepes are then topped with a rich chocolate sauce and sometimes sprinkled with powdered sugar. The combination of the boozy raisins, nutty filling, and indulgent chocolate sauce creates a heavenly dessert that showcases the delightful pairing of rum and raisin in Hungarian cuisine. 

Vanocka – Czech Republic

Vanocka is a traditional Czech Christmas bread that beautifully celebrates the flavors of rum and raisin. It is a festive braided bread made with enriched dough, studded with rum-soaked raisins, and often adorned with almonds or other nuts. The bread's layers of soft, buttery dough are interspersed with plump and flavorful raisins infused with the warm essence of rum. When baked, the aroma of the bread permeates the air, while the combination of the tender crumb and the boozy raisins creates a delightful and cherished holiday treat in Czech cuisine.