Many of our favourite tastes and traditions have spiritual as well as culinary importance

Chocolate: the Aztecs attributed the creation of the cocoa plant to their god Quetzalcoatl, who descended from heaven on a beam of a morning star carrying a cocoa tree stolen from paradise.

Coconut: the three eyes of the coconut represent the three eyes of Shiva (Trayambaka-Rudra). In India, coconuts are one of the most common offerings in a Hindu temple.

Hunted food: "Lawful unto you are (all) things good and pure and what you have taught your trained hunting animals (to catch) in the manner directed to you by God; eat what they catch for you but pronounce the name of God over it." Quran 5:4

Eggs: Easter celebrates Christ's resurrection and eggs are exchanged to commemorate the unification of God's children. Traditionally children were given hard-boiled eggs painted red to symbolise the blood of Christ.

Rice: in Indonesia, rice is the food of fertility. Turmeric colours it yellow, which is the colour of happiness, making it the centrepiece of the Hindu wedding feast.

Bunya-bunya pine cones: like giant green pineapples, filled with cream-fleshed, ready-to-eat seeds, the fruit appears every three years, providing the moment for Aboriginal initiation and marriage ceremonies.

Vegetarian food: at the Sikh Langar, or free kitchen, no meat is served so that all people of the world, regardless of belief, can eat together as equals.

Apples dipped in honey: often eaten at Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, the apple evokes the round cycle of the year as it begins, and the honey hopes for its sweetness.

Beer: in southern Africa, a person's spirit is said to wander for a year after death. Then, the family brews maize beer and the spirit is "brought home", briefly possessing a family member.

Bread: Hallah is a braided ring bread, eaten by Jews at festive times. It can symbolise the turning of the year and serve as a reminder of the inevitability of life and death.

Holy life: "We will take food neither for amusement nor for intoxication nor for the sake of physical beauty and attractiveness, but only for the endurance and continuance of this body, for ending discomfort, and for assisting the holy life." Buddha.