Spoonfuls of Germany


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Stollen meets bread

sourdough-stollen-1

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

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The truth about Hänsel and Gretel

Gingerbread house

We had several inches of snow at Thanksgiving. Our house with its lit windows created a winter wonderland look – like the gingerbread house in Hänsel and Gretel. It put me in the mood to make a gingerbread house.

As I looked through recipes and assembled ingredients and patterns, it hit me that I do not know much about the origin of the gingerbread house tradition. I vaguely recalled a witch’s gingerbread house as the crime scene in Hänsel and Gretel, a fairytale by the Grimm Brothers. Continue reading


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Holiday bread with a pedigree

Bremer Klaben

Sweet German Christmas specialties are the only area that seems to be untouched and untainted by the stereotype surrounding German cuisine.

Every Christmas season, German producers ship their goods all over the world, in wooden boxes and colorful metal tins embossed with winter village scenes. Continue reading