February 27, 2015

"Dresden takes the...

...cake stollen.  And it all happens at Striezelmarkt!

Dresden - a baroque city in the Saxony region of Germany, near the Czech Border

Stollen - not your mother's fruitcake.

Striezelmarkt - Germany's oldest Christmas market in Dresden

"Welcome to Germany's Oldest Christmas Market"
Dresden, Germany

When you come from a German family where your Opa is a German baker, and your Oma is from Dresden...then visiting the Striezelmarkt in Dresden is a no-brainer dumkopf!  

Striezel = Struzel = Stollen

"Got Stollen?"

So basically, Dresden's Striezelmarkt is a Christmas market revolving around the German Christmas bread I kinda loathed growing up.  Yep, every year Opa would mail us a few loaves of Stollen.  And every year, I'd smear Parkay margarine on it to cover up the taste AND mask the dryness (we were frugal Germans...we didn't have butter).  And every year, I'm sure Opa would have cringed...had he known. The funny thing is, as much as I hated it then...I kinda love it now. So this past Christmas season, I ventured to the epi-center of Stollen heaven, and from where my Oma and her family hail.  Dresden, Germany. And just in time for the 580th annual Streizelmarkt. Yep 5 - 8 - 0!  Acht du lieber!

"Awaiting Arrival"
Dresden, Germany

"Zacharias the Streizelbacker"

(Zacharias was the master baker who presented August the Strong, King of Saxony, with the first 1.8 ton Stollen)

"Stollen Procession"
Dresden, Germany

"Pomp and Circumstance"
Dresden, Germany

Striezelmarkt runs thru the Advent season.   And the Saturday before the second Sunday of Advent is a very special Saturday.  The Stollen Processional.  Yep, the parade of stollen thru the Baroque old city streets of Dresden.  Seriously!  For those not familiar with stollen, let me tell ya...there are LOTS of different kinds.  Almond-stollen, Butterstollen, Poppyseed-stollen, Quarkstollen, Marzipanstollen.  There are many stollen recipes passed down familially.  My Opa's stollen was laden with alcohol...which is one reason I personally covered it in a layer of Parkay.  Most stollens are very low in sugar.  The lack of  moisture and low levels of sugar are what distinguishes it from fruitcake...blech!  Even Parkay wouldn't have helped the cause of fruitcake to moi growing up.

But Dresdner Christstollen is probably the most well known.  Produced during the Christmas season.  Shaped into  loaves representative of the baby Jesus swaddled in white.  To be classified as Dresdner Christstollen it must be baked within Dresden boundaries.  For every 10 grams of flour it must contain 3 grams of butter, 7 grams of dried fruit and candied orange/lemon peel, and 1 gram of almonds.  After baked, it must be stored at least 3 weeks in a dark cool place to allow the dried fruits to absorb moisture.  And it is doused with powdered sugar.  Only then, will the official seal of the Saxon King August the Strong be placed upon Dresdner Christstollen. Whew!

(ya wanna see the humongous stollen's arrival?  Click onto the video)

This particular stollen that is horse drawn thru the streets of Dresden?  It's baked by members of the Trade Protection Society Dresden Stollen (150 Dresden bakers and bakeries) who accompany it along it's parade route.  This is not your mutter's stollen.  It weighs several tons (that's a scheisse-load of Parkay!)  At least I HOPE it's not your mutter's stollen.  And yes, there is quite a bit of pomp and circumstance involved.  This is a big deal.  As witnessed by the little German hausfrau who body checked me because I was blocking her view.  

"A Good View"
Dresden, Germany

Dresden, Germany

After the stollen arrives in the center of the Striezelmarkt, a master baker cuts the stollen with a long stollen knife weighing 26 pounds.  Why?  I have no idea.  Except to say this is just how it's always been done.  Typical of the German mentality I grew up with..."Because I SAID SO!"   Afterwards the pieces are cut up in to smaller sections and sold in the Striezelmarkt.

"Bakers at Work"
Dresden, Germany

"Dresden Christstollen"
Dresden, Germany

I had a wonderful, and fattening, time taste-testing my way thru Dresden. TRYING to find a stollen that replicated my Opa's.  His was a recipe that didn't require documentation.  It was in his brain.  And that's where it stayed.  Because he was not from Dresden, like my Oma, his stollen was a bit different.  Not sure exactly HOW, but it was.  As luck would have it, I DID find my Opa's stollen in Dresden.  As luck would NOT have it...I went back the next day to purchase some to bring home and, it was gone.  I think Opa might have liked that.  Probably because he thought I would have put Parkay on it.

"The Dresdener and the Baker"
(Oma and Opa...Hilda and Max)

I also think Oma and Opa were probably pretty happy that my mom, sister and I were in search of the perfect stollen in the heart of Dresden.  I know we were!

"Is it Butter, or is it Parkay?"
(Mom, Moi, Sister #2)

Let them eat cake  stollen!  Danke!

P.S.  Check back next week for more photos and musings of Dresden, Germany.

Here's where I "link up" today.

(click on image for description of Song-ography)
Next Tuesday's Song-ography title suggestion is "Shake It Off" by Taylor Swift.
Come back and link up!  (blog, instagram, flickr photos welcome)


  1. Interesting to know about the Dresden's Christmas market and about the traditions.Beautiful photos.
    Found the post from #WeekendWanderlust
    Have a Great Weekend!

  2. Love your series of images, looks like such a delightful time, and you, your sis and mom, precious! Thank you, Kathy, for coming by sharing your creative photography on the Weekly Top Shot, #167!

  3. Wonderful shots - every single one. Enjoyed your post immensely!
    Please come share at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2015/02/off-of-saint-maarten.html

  4. So so cool - you're giving me the travel bug and teaching me so much (why isn't this taught in AP Euro!?

  5. Being Dutch - which by the way, you're not much if you're not Dutch - ahem, we had a lot of the same traditions growing up! "Because I said SO" was right at the top of my mom's favorite sayings. I believe there are a lot of common things between the Dutch & German! Or maybe because it was that my grandpa, although being Dutch, was born in Germany??
    Anyways - nice history lesson oh kindred spirit!

  6. So interesting! I love it! My grandparents on my father's side were german, and there were recipes that passed with my grandmother that I have often longed for. I love that black and white of the master baker - such a gorgeous old face! And the cute little girl in the pink baker's cap! Such a joy to see cultural happenings that draw all the generations together!! Thanks so much for sharing all of this - it's wonderful!

  7. Love your shots Kathy, and how much fun to visit the place your grandparents were from. I have to say that my fave shot is your black and white. Such character this man has! Must have been fun to go to see a christmas market. I was thinking of a cruise this coming year for the Christmas markets.

  8. Wow! Really interesting. Who knew stollen is given such honors in Dresden. I think I have never tasted this type of cake (not sure if it can be described as a bread or a cake, my husband works at a bakery and I know describing a baked good as one or as the other can be complicated). However, I remember my grandfather sending a big fruitcake every Christmas. I really didn't like it at that time but will like to have a piece after many years of not trying it.

  9. As always, Kathy, such beautiful shots! And I love the commentary. You put the words and the images together so very nicely! It makes my heart smile to know that y'all went in search of your grandparents' stollen. ;)

    Thank you again for linking up with me!

    Jen - Pierced Wonderings

  10. Wow, a stollenfest! Here in California I've seen only one kind of stollen (from Trader Joe) - not fresh like in Europe. Hope it's butter, and not Parkey:)

  11. I'm not keen on stollen, but i would like to visit Dresden, it has so much history. We have our own family bakers, from Munich, so our tastes run to Schnitten and Bretzie, and my daughter loves her Lintzer tortes -- as you cans see here. http://www.familiesgotravel.com/2014/12/munich-with-kids/

  12. This looks like great fun!! And what an awesome picture of you three ladies!!

  13. What a great post. I'm sure your Opa and Oma were smiling down on you. Xo

  14. What a fun trip to visit where you family comes from. Love the photo of your grandparents.

    Teresa @ Eden Hills

  15. I could not stand the Stollen when I was child and we always had the one from Dresden ( no butter nor margarine ). Now I quite like it ..it is the same with red wine-it grows on you with age.Marzipanstollen is the best - a far cry from its original but nevertheless.I have never been to Dresden , many thanks for all the nice pictures!

  16. This is a great post, mostly bc you have a history with Stollen. We joke about it here that it is dry and not so good. We were even given one for Christmas and I promptly took it to school for the teachers to enjoy.

  17. Such a wonderful blog post. I enjoyed my little history lesson my friend. Fabulous photos, And what an amazing trip to take with family..