The birthplace of Gangam style, popular boy band BTS, and one of the world’s first ‘smart cities’, South Korea is a hub for culture and architectural wonder. Known officially as the Republic of South Korea, the country was formed in 1984 and has only continued to thrive and blossom since then, creating an enormous global influence along the way. The high tech nation is the birthplace of many famous electronic brands such as Samsung and LG but is also a mecca for nature lovers and adventurers with rugged mountaintops and densely forested national parks to discover. What makes this country so unique however, is their Asian cuisine. South Korea is world famous for dishes such as ‘kimchi’ and ‘bulgogi’ as well as their snacks which we will be taste testing this month. From headline grabbing chocolate pies, soy sauce flavored treats, and the famous bright red snack ‘tteokbokki’, it is clear to see why food is such an important part of South Korea’s culture.
A site of some of the earliest human civilization and a country that has only been independent for 71 years, Israel is our next destination with Universal Yums. Israel is not only an extremely old country, it is also one of the holiest places on Earth, specifically for Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Jerusalem, a tiny city 100 times smaller than Disney World, is the site of two of these important places, both the site in which Jesus Christ was crucified as well as his resting place, and is one of the most popular places in Israel for tourists as well as for religious pilgrimages. Since 1948, the Israeli citizens have been working hard to establish their country and to create their own unique traditions, pastimes, landmarks, and food, after having been ruled by multiple different empires throughout history. Lucky for us, we’ll be getting the chance to try some of their snack food inventions this month, including the popping chocolate bar which is one of the newest creations to halva and baklava, treats that have been around for ages.
Ukraine, a country I never thought I would be trying snacks from, yet here we are. For the month of March, we’ll be heading off on a journey through Ukraine with Universal Yums where we’ll be taste testing things such as cheese and chocolate wafers as well as meat jelly flavored chips and fruit filled caramels. A bit of a backstory on this country before we hop into the snacks, the Ukraine has been ruled by many different nations throughout it’s existence as a country. First it was Poland who had control of this country followed by Austria-Hungary and then fell under the control of the USSR in 1912. Seventy years passed while Ukraine was powered by the Soviet Union until the USSR collapsed in 1991 and Ukraine finally gained its independence. While this resilient country has changed hands quite a few times throughout history, one thing that has remained is their way of life, with traditional celebrations and their one of a kind cuisine still remaining huge focal points about the country today.
From chocolate bunnies and brightly colored eggs, Easter is at our doors once again. Once celebrated primarily by Christians looking to honor the life and death of Jesus Christ, the holiday today is much more commercialized and more widely celebrated across the globe. While Easter in places such as the United States and Canada may be synonym with Easter egg hunts and visits from the Easter bunny, in different places around the globe the Easter holiday looks a whole lot different. Here are some of the countries with the most unique Easter traditions and celebrations.
From the leaning tower of Pisa and the Roman ruins that offer a step back into history to the watery canals of Venise, Italy is a place known for both it’s beautiful architecture and its delicious food. It is also a country that has heavily influenced the rest of the world not only due to the talented fashion designers such as Gucci and Versace but also for incredible artists like Leonardo da Vinci who paved for the way for the future of fine art. Food is also a huge thing that we can appreciate about Italy, think spaghetti and meatballs and pepperoni pizza, but this European country is also known for many other popular snacks ranging from black truffle chips and lemon pepper crackers to orange-carrot cake and a chocolate bar made only for the richest of the rich, all of which we’ll be getting a taste of this month.
As we head into February, stores will start going into full on Valentines mode with shelves brimming with heart shaped chocolate boxes, pink stuffed animals, and cheesy cards. Valentines Day is one of those holidays that you either love or hate, which mostly depends on if you’re single or not. Celebrated mainly in North America, this holiday started in the year 496 and is derived from an ancient Roman celebration originally to commemorate the beginning of Spring. Over the years, the church decided to turn the festival into a Christian holiday created to commemorate St Valentine, the saint of love. Nowadays, gift giving and romantic dinners are synonym with the holiday of love but in different parts of the world, they like to do things a bit differently. With Valentines Day right around the corner, we’ll be discovering 15 different countries around the world who celebrate the holiday in their own unique way.
Germany, a country known for it’s charming half-timbered houses, castles galore, and of course their beer, is the country we’ll be starting the new year off with, with Universal Yums. While the holiday season may be over and done with and you’ve finally put away all of those lingering Christmas decorations, the most festive time of year is just beginning in Germany. All across the country, people are getting prepared for the biggest celebration of the year known as ‘karneval.’ This special occasion starts the new year off on the right foot and involves parades, music, dancing, costumes, and of course, yummy food. While there isn’t a plane ticket to Germany to attend the karneval included in this month’s box, there are some of the special treats that are enjoyed during this celebration that will have us feeling like we’re right there celebrating along with the locals.