The best thing to do at a Christmas market in Germany is to eat your way through them! Check out all the must-eat foods and make sure to arrive hungry!
Pumpernickel has been long associated with the Westphalia region of Germany, first referred to in print in 1450. Although it is not known whether this and other early references refer to precisely the bread that came to be known as Pumpernickel, Westphalian pumpernickel is distinguished by use of coarse rye flour—rye meal and a very long baking period, which gives the bread its characteristic dark color. Like most traditional all-rye breads, pumpernickel is traditionally made with an acidic sourdough starter, which preserves dough structure by counteracting highly active rye amylases. That method is sometimes augmented or replaced in commercial baking by adding citric acid or lactic acid along with commercial yeast.
Traditional German Pumpernickel contains no coloring agents, instead relying on the Maillard reaction to produce its characteristic deep brown color, sweet, dark chocolate, coffee flavor, and earthy aroma. To achieve this, loaves are baked in long narrow lidded pans 16 to 24 hours in a low temperature (about 250°F or 120°C), steam-filled oven. Like the French pain de mie, Westphalian pumpernickel has little or no crust. It is very similar to rye Vollkornbrot, a dense rye bread with large amounts of whole grains added.
While true Pumpernickel is produced primarily in Germany, versions are popular in the Netherlands, under the name Roggebrood, where it has been a common part of the diet for centuries.
Newsflash…it’sofficially getting colder. As the frigid temperatures settle in for the season, you may have to dress in layers and keep up with those runaway gloves, but the cold weather isn’t all bad; it also brings delicious drinks that are great for warming the body and the spirit. One such beverage is Kinderpunsch, (also called “children’s punch”) and it is a Christmas tradition in Germany.
At Christmastime, Germany. is filled with holiday spirit. There are over 2,500 Christmas markets (also called Christkindlmarket) throughout the country. Dating back to 1393, these markets have provided a healthy dose of merriment in the advent season. What’s not to like? There’s food, drinks, and all manner of hand-crafted items including nativity scenes and hand blown glass ornaments. Every region produces a unique Christkindlmarket, filled with food and drinks representative of their town. One thing that is common to them all is Kinderspunsch, a non-alcoholic warming drink, traditionally made with apple or grape juice, cinnamon, and ground/whole cloves. Sold primarily at German Christmas Markets, market-goers drink Kinderpunsch as they traipse around in frigid temperatures looking for their rare treasures.
Here’s a simple recipe from Sallyberstein.com: Pour one quart of red grape juice into saucepan or slow cooker. Add about 1/4 cup honey (or to taste); 1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces; 3 whole cloves; and the peels of half a lemon and half an orange. Heat, but do not boil. Strain into glasses and serve.
Stollen is a traditional German cake made with dry fruits and topped with sugar, powdered sugar, or a glazed icing. Much like a fruitcake, the cake incorporates chopped candied fruit, dried fruit, nuts and spices. Usually made in a loaf, it is commonly eaten during the Christmas season, when it is called Weihnachtsstollen or Christstollen. A similar cake, found in Dutch cuisine, is called a Kerststol in Dutch, while in Italian cuisine the panettone also shows a likeness.
The Dresden Stollen (originally Striezel), a moist, heavy bread filled with fruit, was first mentioned in an official document in 1474, and the most famous Stollen is still the Dresdner Stollen, sold, among other places, at the local Christmas market, Striezelmarkt. Dresden Stollen is produced in the city of Dresden and distinguished by a special seal depicting King Augustus II the Strong. This “official” Stollen is produced by only 150 Dresden bakers.
Augustus II the Strong (1670–1733) was the Elector of Saxony, King of Poland and the Grand Duke of Lithuania. The King loved pomp, luxury, splendour and feasts. In 1730, he impressed his subjects, ordering the Bakers’ Guild of Dresden to make a giant 1.7-tonne Stollen, big enough for everyone to have a portion to eat. There were around 24,000 guests who were taking part in the festivities on the occasion of the legendary amusement festivity known as Zeithainer Lustlager. For this special occasion, the court architect Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann (1662-1737), built a particularly oversized Stollen oven. An oversized Stollen knife also had been designed solely for this occasion.
Today, the festival takes place on the Saturday before the second Sunday in Advent, and the cake weighs between three and four tonnes. A carriage takes the cake in a parade through the streets of Dresden to the Christmas market, where it is ceremoniously cut into pieces and distributed among the crowd, for a small sum which goes to charity. A special knife, the Grand Dresden Stollen Knife, a silver-plated knife, 1.60 meters long weighing 12 kg, which is a copy of the lost baroque original knife from 1730, is used to festively cut the oversize Stollen at the Dresden Christmas fair.
The largest Stollen was baked in 2010 by Lidl, a discount supermarket chain in Germany. The Stollen was 70 meters long and was certified by the Guinness Book of World Records, at the train station of Haarlem. (Thanks Wikipedia!)
Recipe for Quicker Stollen
Ingredients for Glaze
The meatloaf has European origins; minced meat loaves were cooked already in the 5th century, and were mentioned in the famous Roman cookery collection “Apicius”. Meatloaf is a traditional German, Belgian and Dutch dish, and it is a cousin to the Italian meatball. American meatloaf has its origins in scrapple, a mixture of ground pork and cornmeal served by German-Americans in Pennsylvania since Colonial times. However, meatloaf in the contemporary American sense did not appear in cookbooks until the late 19th century.- Wikepedia.
Recipe below by MCCN Host Carla Crudup.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
½ cup green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
11/2 lbs. lean ground beef
1/3 cup dried breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons dried italian seasoning
2 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
¼ cup grated cheese* (optional)
½ cup ketchup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon mustard
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Let cool.
In a large bowl combine, ground beef, onions, bell pepper, garlic and remaining ingredients and mix well. Transfer to 9 x 5 loaf pan coated with cooking spray.
Bake for approximately 45 minutes. In a small bowl mix sauce ingredients together. Add sauce over meat and continue to
bake for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes.
*Feel free to use any type of cheese you like. As a suggestion, sharp cheddar, parmesan, romano and smoked cheeses work quite well with this meat loaf recipe. Since Chef Jay invited me to his home and we are both passionate about european foods and cooking as well, I decided to use one of my favorites, the manchego cheese. Manchego cheese is a spanish cheese made in the La Mancha region of Spain from the whole milk of sheep. The cheese is firm in texture, well developed and has a lovely distinctive flavor. It’s great to eat and pairs very well with a robust red wine or sherry.
Visit Carla’s website: http://www.carlacrudup.com/
Mulled wine, (Gluhwein), is a popular Christmas drink in Austria, Switzerland and Germany. It contains red wine, fruit, cloves and cinnamon and is served hot by street vendors at Christmas Fairs, (Weihnachtmarkt). It is also sold during the ski season on the slopes of many European resorts.
Mulled Wine Recipe
2 bottles of medium-bodied red wine
1 cup sugar and more to taste
6 cinnamon sticks
Push the cloves into the skin of the oranges, then cut the oranges in half. Pour the wine into a large stainless steel or enamel saucepan and warm over a medium heat. Add the sugar, spices and clove studded oranges. Keep an eye on the wine and turn the heat to very low as soon as it gets close to simmering. You don’t want it to boil or it will lose its alcohol content! Taste for sugar and add more until it tastes right for you. Keep it steaming over a low heat for an hour or so to allow the spices to infuse. Ladle it into glasses or mugs and breathe in the spicy aroma.
Other things you can add to mulled wine:
Star anise, bay leaves, mace, ginger, cardamom, lemon, lime, brandy.
The Multi Cultural Cooking Network is taking a look at foods from the nations of some of the athletes of the Vancouver/Whistler 2010 Olympics. Switzerland has received the first gold medal from the 2010 Olympics, and they have ski jumper Simon Amman to thank for their victory. The 28-year old Grabs, Switzerland native adds a little more bling to his collection with his third gold medal coming from the normal hill jump in Whistler, B.C..
Switzerland’s cuisine has its own winning tradition. The Swiss have a multitude of influences coming from their other Europen neighbors: France, Italy and Germany. However, the Romansh region is where most of the traditional Swiss dishes hail. With Switzerland’s long-time history of farming, it’s not surprising that some of the more unique dishes incorporate the use of potatoes and cheese (Rösti, Fondue, and Raclette).
What They Eat in Switzerland
Cheese: The most identifiable cheeses are the Emmental, Gruyère, Vacherin, and Appenzelle. Cheese dishes include fondue (communal dish where diners use forks to dip bits of food in semi-liquid sauce — often cheese) and Raclette (melted cheese eaten with boiled or roasted potatoes with small gherkins and pickled onions).
Rosti: Much like “hash browns,” the Swiss have eaten Rosti for generations. Considered a national dish, this a popular potato entree which used to be eaten for breakfast by many farmers in the canton of Bern. Now it is served as an accompaniment to dishes like Cervelas (cooked sausage) or Fleishkase (specialty meat found in Switzerland, Austria and Germany consisting of corned beef, pork, bacon and onions)
Chocolate: When you think about Switzerland, it’s hard not to think about chocolate. Ever heard of Toblerone? Yes, the chocolate bar with the funky pyramid shape — a Swiss man James Tobler started that business in 1867. Nestlé, Kraft, and Lindt, all had their start as chocolate factories founded in Switzerland.
Bread: The Swiss quite enjoy the simplicity of bread. Bread rolls come in all kinds of varieties and for breakfast or dinner, the Swiss eat sliced bread with butter and jam. Bread and cheese is also commonly eaten for dinner.
Italy: Zürcher Geschnetzeltes– thin strips of veal with mushroom and cream.
France: Papet vaudois – leeks with potatoes, served with Saucisson, and/or with ‘Saucisse au foie’ and ‘Saucisse au chou’ (smoked liver or cabbage sausages).
Germany: Birchmuesli (known more commonly as Muesli) – a popular breakfast food made of uncooked rolled oats, fruit and nuts.
Graubünden Canton in Switzerland: Chur(er) meat pie– a popular dish from Graubünden in south eastern Switzerland.
Article by Monica Johnson
The birthday cake has been an integral part of the birthday celebrations in Western cultures since the middle of the 19th century. Certain rituals and traditions, such as singing of birthday songs, associated with birthday cakes are common to many Western cultures. The Western tradition of adding lit candles to the top of a birthday cake originates in 18th century Germany. However, the intertwining of cakes and birthday celebrations stretch back to the Ancient Romans. The development of the birthday cake has followed the development of culinary and confectionery advancement. While throughout most of Western history, these elaborate cakes in general were the privilege of the wealthy, birthday cakes are nowadays common to most Western birthday celebrations. Around the world many variations on the birthday cake, or rather the birthday pastry or sweets, exist.
Though the exact origin and significance of the candle blowing ritual is unknown, the history of placing candles on top of the cake is well documented. This tradition can be traced to Kinderfest (Kinder is the German word for ‘children’), an 18th century German birthday celebration for children. A letter written in 1799 by Goethe recounts: “…when it was time for dessert, the prince’s entire livery…carried a generous-size torte with colorful flaming candles – amounting to some fifty candles – that began to melt and threatened to burn down, instead of there being enough room for candles indicating upcoming years, as is the case with children’s festivities of this kind…” As the excerpt indicates, the tradition at the time was to place candles for each year of the individual’s life with some added candles ‘indicating upcoming years’.-(Wikepedia)
*Love this idea below, have you ever thought of using peanut butter cups as candle holders for the cake?