The terrorist attack on the Christmas market in Berlin yesterday taints with blood the image of Germany’s idyllic Christmas markets, which are famous around the world for their magic atmosphere. Christmas markets are an inseparable part of Germany’s Christmas traditions. You simply cannot visit Germany around Christmastime and not visit a Christmas market. Continue reading
There are many foods and recipes that carry the “German” label in the United States. Often they are a far cry from the real thing. The worst offender, in my view, is pumpernickel bread. In the US, it is almost always darkened and sweetened with molasses – something that is never done to authentic pumpernickel in Germany (find my recipe for real pumpernickel bread here).
The one big exception, in my view, where something German improved on this side of the Atlantic is kale (Grünkohl). Continue reading
It was butter that made the city of Dresden the home of Germany’s most famous edible Christmas tradition. In 1491 Pope Innocent VIII gave in to the request of the Saxonian rulers to lift the ban on dairy products during the days of fasting. After he sent the legendary Butterbrief (“Butter Letter”) the bakers in Dresden started to use butter in their Stollen, and the sweet bread that we know today was born.
I love a good Stollen and frankly, in the time leading up to Christmas, I could eat it every day – if only it was a little less rich. Continue reading