New Year’s Eve Snacks & Rites

I'm going to spend New Year's Eve completely differently this year: somewhere warm with a turquoise ocean and sandy beach. Yes, I'm flying off at the end of December for a little beach break. The one thing I'll miss for sure is the customary Austrian midnight waltz. Customs and rites are a big part of Christmas and New Year's. I got curious and researched traditions from around the globe and also created six New Year's Eve recipes for the current issue of WOMAN magazine. And you can get them all here!

In Mexico, where I will spend New Year's, as well as in Italy and Chile, people believe that wearing red underwear from the 31st of December to the 1st of January is good luck. Maybe this year, I should wash my hands with sugar or champagne as well - in Mexico, this is said to attract lots of money.

Here's a Danish custom I find especially lovely: the Danes grab a chair just before midnight and as soon as the clock chimes 12, they make a lucky jump - into the New Year.

A beautiful albeit slightly challenging New Year's Eve tradition comes from Russia: in the evening of December 31st, grab a pen, make a wish and write it on a piece of paper. Proceed to burn the paper and scatter the ash into a glass of champagne. If you empty the glass by midnight, your wish will come true.

Why are there fireworks at New Year's? When that custom was introduced, it wasn't so much about colourful pretty sparks in the sky, but rather about banishing evil spirits and signalling excitement and anticipation for the brand new year.

In terms of food, there are countless traditions for New Year's around the world. In Italy and Russia, lentils are eaten for good luck, in the Czech Republic, they are believed to bring wealth and abundance. A funny bit of trivia: apparently you're not supposed to eat chicken or anything else with wings for New Year's, so your luck doesn't fly away.


© WOMAN/  Herbert Lehmann.

A little bit more of a dental risk - the Greek tradition of baking a coin into a loaf of bread. The bread is eaten on the 31st of December, and whoever gets the coin can keep it and will have copious amounts of luck in the upcoming year.

And have you ever heard of the Spanish grape tradition? There, you're supposed to eat a grape with each chime of the clock at midnight and while you're eating, you can make a wish. I was familiar with this custom from my Spanish friends and that's why I tried to incorporate grapes into one of my WOMAN recipes.

I'm wishing you a very Happy New Year - may all your wishes come true! And maybe one or more of the snacks below has your name on it. Enjoy!


© WOMAN/  Herbert Lehmann.


New Year's Eve Snacks


Falafel with Yoghurt and Parsley Dip  

Ingredients for 2 people: 

  • 1 tin chickpeas
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ½ lemon
  • 2 spring onions
  • 1 egg
  • 5 TBSP breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 pinch chilli powder
  • ½ bunch parsley
  • oil for frying
  • salt and pepper

For the Sauce:

  • ½ jar yoghurt
  • ½ bunch parsley
  • 1-2 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove
  • salt

Quick Amaretti-Tiramisu

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 16 Amaretti biscuits
  • 2 shots espresso
  • 4-6 tsp rum
  • 250g mascarpone cheese
  • 250g whipping cream
  • 30g icing sugar
  • ½ packet vanilla sugar
  • cocoa powder to dust
  • chocolate flakes to garnish
  • sugar pearls to garnish

Raw Brownies with Punch Glaze

Ingredients for 15 portions:

  • 120g almond meal or finely ground almonds
  • 60g cocoa powder
  • 2 TBSP Birkengold (vegetable-based sweetener; if you don't have this at home, use sugar)
  • 200g dates, deseeded (should be big and juicy, use Medjool if you can get them)
  • 3 TBSP coconut oil
  • 60g chopped walnuts
  • 50g dark chocolate (70%)
  • pink punch glaze (by Dr. Oetker, for example)
  • pink and purple sugar sparkles

Roasted Grapes with Thyme on Grilled Ricotta Toast 

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 8 slices rustic baguette
  • purple grapes
  • olive oil
  • thyme
  • ½ tsp lemon zest
  • sea salt



Preparation of Falafel with Yoghurt and Parsley Dip:

  1. For the sauce, finely chop parsley and garlic and mix well with yoghurt, lemon and salt.
  2. For the falafel, finely chop the garlic and spring onions. Drain the chickpeas, rinse under lukewarm water and put in a medium-sized bowl. Mash the chickpeas with a hand blender or a fork until you have a smooth mash. Add egg, bread crumbs, spring onions, cumin and the rest of the garlic (you can use less, if you like), season with chilli powder, salt and pepper and mix well. Let sit for around 5 minutes, then shape into balls the size of apricots.
  3. Heat up 3-5 TBSP oil in a pan and fry the falafel balls all over for 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and put on a bit of kitchen towel to drain, then arrange on plates and serve together with the dip.

Preparation of Quick Amaretti-Tiramisu:  

  1. Brew the espresso shots. Prepare 4 dessert dishes with 4 Amaretti biscuits each. Pour the espresso and rum over the biscuits.
  2. Whisk the whipping cream and the mascarpone together with the icing sugar and vanilla sugar until you have a smooth cream. Spoon into the glasses.
  3. Dust with cocoa powder and garnish with chocolate flakes and white sugar pearls. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve.

Preparation of Raw Brownies with Punch Glaze:

  1. Line an oblong, high, ovenproof form (around 18cm) with parchment.
  2. Put almond meal, cocoa and sugar in a food processor. Combine the dry ingredients and add the deseeded dates and liquid coconut oil. Mix in the food processor until a dough ball forms. You may also use a hand mixer or blender. Add coconut oil if the dough needs it.
  3. Put the mass into a bowl and mix in the chopped walnuts and chocolate. Mix well with your hands.
  4. Even the dough out with your fingers. Prepare the punch glaze according to package instructions and evenly pour over the brownie dough. Garnish with sugar glitter and keep in the fridge until ready to eat. Before serving, cut the brownies into even squares.

Preparation of Roasted Grapes with Thyme on Grilled Ricotta Toast:

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C (upper/lower). Wash the thyme. Put the grapes into an ovenproof form, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Sprinkle with thyme. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.
  2. Cut the bread into 0,5cm slices. Heat the olive oil in a pan and fry the bread until crispy. Wash the lemon in hot water and grate the zest.
  3. Spread the ricotta onto the bread slices, top with grapes,  a little salt and lemon zest and garnish with thyme. Serve with a little olive oil on the side.