I hope you all aren’t beginning to be upset at the less-than-normal amount of posting I’ve been doing. Although there isn’t really an excuse, the holiday season swept me away, and I’ve been visiting my parents in Tübingen for the past week. However, don’t fear, as I am back now from a wonderful week at “home” with my family, and am now entertaining friends of mine from the Münster region via Hamburg until New Year’s. My cartoon post with pictures of my Christmas celebrations will have to wait, but in the meantime, here is something I brought with me to the festivities.
Dresden is well-known for having the oldest Christmas market in Germany (this year was the 572nd one) and it’s called the Striezelmarkt. The name itself derives from the Middle-High-German word for the famous Dresdner Christmas baked good, then called Strutzel or Striezel and today called the Stollen. The traditional Stollen is a dense yeast bread filled with candied lemons and limes as well as raisins. It is covered with powdered sugar which makes a fine, almost crunchy outer layer. Of course, it is possible for non-raisin-adorers (like me) to get a Mandelstollen (pictured on the left), which is the same as the regular Stollen minus the raisins and plus a few almonds. To my mother’s delight, it is also possible to buy a Mohnstollen, which is a poppy seed Stollen (pictured on the right). Sometimes Stollen are also laced with a bit of marzipan, which adds a very good almond, creamy touch. The problem with the Mandelstollen is that there are no raisins, poppy seeds, or marzipan to keep the confection from drying out, so although it’s very tasty, a cup of coffee or black tea is needed to soften it a bit. Of course, coffee and tea in general go excellently with Stollen!
Dresdner bakeries have formed a Schutzverein, a kind of club to protect their Stollen. This means that only Stollen with certain ingredients and methods of preparation are allowed the honor of putting this seal on their Stollen. This seal is also reserved only for the traditional raisin Stollen. The best of these tasty confections (according to the teachers at my school) is found at Café Toscana, right next to the Blauer Wunder, one of the bridges that spans the Elbe River (and yes, it is blue!). This whole area of town deserves much more of my attention, and I plan to explore its boutiques and food shops more once the holiday season has calmed down a bit. In the meantime, if you can find a Stollen near you (they do export worldwide and it is especially well-liked in Japan), please dig in and see what you think!
Cafe Toscana can be found on Schillerplatz 7.
Tel +49 351 310 0744