Swiss national Yves Matthey is the executive pastry chef at Hong Kong's Mandarin Oriental hotel, where he oversees a team of 30 staff. Here he tells us about his favourite Christmas foods. Mince pies These signal the start of the festive season. The pies are filled with a sweet mix of candied fruits and Christmas spices. Mince pies are usually offered to guests who visit your home at Christmas, and of course Father Christmas should always be left a plate of mince pies to eat when he visits on Christmas eve. Mince pies have a very traditional, spicy winter flavour, and to me signal the start of the Christmas festivities. Christmas pudding This is the traditional dessert to serve on Christmas day. It is quite a heavy pudding that is served warm with brandy sauce or butter. It has a particular flavour which is hard to describe, but comes from the mixture of fruit and sweet spice, and it is traditionally brought to the Christmas table flamed with brandy. I love this dish because of the brandy flavour. Although I'm not really a brandy drinker, I think it goes very well with Christmas food. Praline log This is a very traditional Swiss Christmas food. It is soft and sweet and has a strong chocolate flavour. It is shaped and decorated like a winter log to remind people of the winter months and festive events in Europe, where there is often snow. This is usually a popular dish with children. I like it because it is Swiss - like me! Christmas cookies Christmas time is a wonderful excuse to have a variety of foods in the house. The Christmas cookies that we make at the Mandarin are in different festive shapes and are crunchy and spicy. I like them because they remind me of drinking coffee with friends at various Christmas gatherings. They are also nice to serve after dinner or as a mid-morning snack. Mulled wine What better way to warm up after a cold Christmas walk than with a glass of warm, spicy mulled wine. The cinnamon and the orange gives a particularly seasonal flavour, and the drink makes you feel warm all over. It is a good drink to serve at Christmas parties, as it makes everyone feel in a festive mood. I like to put vanilla ice-cream in my mulled wine, the mixture of hot and cold creates my own kind of fusion.