The A to Z of German Christmas: C is for Christstollen

Sliced stollen on a baking tray with a long knife
Stollen | Source: Unsplash

There’s nothing quite like a slice of Christstollen and a cup of tea on a chilly grey afternoon. A dense fruit bread dusted with icing sugar, Christstollen – or Weihnachtsstollen, both generally shortened to Stollen – is studded with nuts, marzipan, dried and/or candied fruit (sometimes soaked in rum or brandy) and flavoured with festive spices such as nutmeg, cardamom and/or vanilla.

The most famous Stollen is probably the one made in Dresden (Dresdner Christstollen) first mentioned in the 13th century and only (officially) made by around 120 bakeries in the east German city. Each year during Advent there’s a huge celebration in Dresden that celebrates their festive bread –  more on that below.

How to make Christstollen

Slices of Stollen with marzipan and quark
Stollen filled with marzipan and quark (Image credit: Ginger & Bread)

It’s easier than you might think, you just need to plan ahead and make it a good few days before you want to eat it. There’s a foolproof one here on this very site from my friend and expert German baker, Ginger & Bread (link to recipe). Felicity Cloake refers to it whilst working out how to bake the perfect Stollen.

Where to eat Christstollen

There’s no better place to have a slice of the real deal than at Dresden’s annual Stollen festival (Dresdner Stollenfest), which takes place in the city’s old town on the Saturday preceding the second Sunday of Advent. There’s an opening ceremony involving the city’s bakers, a parade through the streets, and a giant Dresdner Stollen that is cut up for sale at the end of the festivities with a special, silver-plated knife. More details are available on the Dresdner Stollen Association website.

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