Celebrate the holiday season with this traditional German Christmas Stollen filled with rum soaked raisins and topped with melted butter and sugar. It’s the perfect accompaniment to morning coffee or afternoon tea!
Every Christmas season in Germany, the local bakeries produce the most magnificent bread that I eat dozens of loaves of. This Weihnachtsstollen (Christmas Bread) dates back to the 1500’s in Germany when it was first made with oil because during the Advent season butter was prohibited. This oil based dough was hard and tough and not as good as when made with butter. Over time, the people were allowed to use butter in the Stollen and it evolved into a sweeter, fruit-filled dough versus the flavorless dough of the 1500’s.
Today, the most popular and historic Stollen comes from Dresden and is baked and sold at the Dresden Christmas Market. This tradition has been taking place since the 1500’s and draws thousands of people to the market every Advent.
The traditional Stollen is baked in a long bell-shaped pan, but bakers all across Germany also bake it free form in an oval-shaped loaf like I made here.
Typically, I am not a fan of making yeasted dough, but I really wanted to learn to make my favorite German bread before I left Germany. This dough begins by mixing the flour and yeast together then adding warmed butter and milk. The technique works perfectly for me because I always seem to ruin the dough when I have to mix the yeast with sugar and warm milk first. This method of adding everything at once to the mixer makes it practically impossible to mess up.
This recipe comes from a baking Facebook group that I’m a part of. An older gentleman that’s in the group has been making hundreds of loaves of this German Christmas Stollen for decades and was kind enough to share his family recipe.
I tried his recipe exactly as he wrote it and I ended up burning the bottoms of the bread. It still tasted amazing, just a little too brown on the underside with an aftertaste that was less than to be desired.
So, I tried the recipe again making a few adjustments. I added more rum, raisins and candied orange to the dough as well as doubling up on the baking sheet, lowering the temperature and raising the rack in the oven. All of these changes helped to make the perfect Weihnachtsstollen you see here!
I love how beautiful the Stollen looks on the platter with my Christmas decorations on my dining table. Serve the Stollen with butter and a hot cup of coffee and you’ve got the perfect treat for friends and family.
I even got out my beautiful Bavarian porcelain and antique gold silverware to enjoy a cup of coffee and Stollen when my German friend Mariele came for a visit. We sipped on coffee and ate as our children played. It was perfect.
Do you have a favorite Christmas bread? Have you ever made this Weihnachtsstollen before? I’d love to hear about it!
Merry Christmas and Happy Baking!
German Christmas Stollen
Yield: 8 loaves
Prep Time: 6 hours
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours35 minutes
3 cups raisins
250g (one heaping cup) candied oranges
3/4 cup white rum
9 cups all-purpose flour, divided
4 packages active dry yeast
2 cups milk
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp almond extract
1 grated & dried peels of an orange
1 grated & dried peels of a lemon
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2-3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
Oven size/large heavy/thick baking sheet (I used two large dark non-stick jelly-roll pans stacked on top of each other)
In a large bowl, combine the raisins, candied orange and rum. Soak for several hours or overnight.
Grate the orange & lemon. Place the grated peels on a baking sheet and dry in at 225F oven for 5 minutes. Set aside until ready to use.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together 3 cups of the flour and the yeast.
In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, butter, sugar and salt the butter has melted and the mixture is warm stirring constantly to melt the butter. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Once cooled, but still warm, add this mixture to the flour & yeast and mix on low until combined.
Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the beaten eggs, almond extract, and grated peels and mix on medium speed for 30 seconds.
Scrape the sides again and mix on high for 3 minutes.
By hand, stir in the raisins and oranges soaked in rum.
Replace the paddle with the dough hook on the mixer. Add 5 cups of flour and turn the mixer on medium for 3-4 minutes.
Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a counter covered in 1 cup of flour. Knead the flour into the dough for 4 minutes. Pat the dough into a large ball.
Oil a large bowl and place the dough ball into the bowl, turning to coat the outside in the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm, moist place for 90 minutes or until doubled in size.
Punch down dough 3-4 times.
Remove the dough from the bowl divide into 8 even pieces. I weighed the dough in grams then divided by 8. I weighed each dough ball to the same size to ensure consistency among my loaves.
Cover with a towel and let rest for 10 minutes.
Form each piece of weighed dough into an oval shaped loaf the place on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper.
Once all the dough is on the baking sheet, cover with a cloth and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375F degrees if using a light baking sheet. Preheat oven to 350F degrees if using a non-stick/dark baking sheet.
Bake the dough for 30 minutes on the top rack in your oven. Rotate the pan 180 degrees then bake 5 more minutes. Check the bottom of the loaves to ensure they are not burning. Bake 5 more minutes if necessary but do not over bake! The loaves will be perfect when the bottoms are golden and the tops are firm and a light brown.
Remove the baked loaves from the sheet and allow them to cool on racks until completely cool.
Place the 2-3 cups of sugar into a rectangle baking dish.
Brush melted butter over the entire top surface of each loaf the place in the baking dish with the sugar. Scoop the sugar over the entire loaf so it's covered completely. Tap off any extra and then place back on the cooling rack. Repeat with all the loaves.
Dust a generous amount of powdered sugar over the top of each loaf.
Wrap in plastic wrap or place in a gift bag for storage. Do not place in a plastic box, the sugar will melt into the bread.
The Stollen will stay fresh for 2-3 days but after that will begin to dry out. It's best if enjoyed immediately!
Check out these other German recipes I have made since living here!
Earlier this year, Germany began receiving thousands of refugees fleeing Syria and the surrounding countries in the middle east. Many of these men, women, children and families began being housed within miles, minutes from our home here in Germany. In September, I asked my local community and you, my readers, to send me your clothes, blankets, toiletries, winter jackets to give to these people.
Today, along with my good friend Lizzie and her family plus a few others from our community, we delivered the donations plus a few homemade treats and art bags to the refugees.
We packed our car as full as we possibly could with room only to sit. Lizzie’s car was packed too. With boxes and bags under, behind and all around us we made our way to Camp Pitman in Weiden, about 25 minutes away.
In March 1959, Camp Pitman was built to house US military who were stationed there to ensure that the Iron Curtain boundaries remained intact and that the Germans remained safe. It remained occupied until 1989 when the surrounding neighborhoods complained of too much noise and disruption coming from the American soldiers and eventually the Americans were forced to leave. Since then, Camp Pitman has been the central government receiving point for emigrants and refugees including people from Bosnia and Herzegovina in July 1992 and from Kosovo in April 1999.
Today, refugees from Iraq, Syria, Russia and all over the middle east live at Camp Pitman.
There are several buildings on Camp Pitman with small rooms that house four people at a time or one family. There is also a small playground outside the buildings on a grassy area where the children can play.
The common areas of the camp included a laundry room with 11 washers and dryers and a kitchen with 3 sinks, several prep tables and 12 ovens/ranges. Although there were lockers in the kitchen area, all food was kept with each person in their own room.
During the day, the adult refugees take classes where they learn the laws and customs of Germany as well as trade classes to teach them new skills. The children attend school as well during the day.
In the evenings and weekends, they spend their time cooking in these kitchens & doing laundry. Most of them have bikes, but no cars so they can’t go very far. The grocery store is close so that makes getting food easier, but only as long as it’s not freezing or raining.
Once we arrived at Camp Pitman we began unloading the bags and boxes and brought them into the hallway of the first floor of the main building. During this visit there were mostly single men housed in these rooms on the first floor. A few weeks ago when Lizzie visited there were more families living upstairs, but today they were not home or had moved on. The people come and go here so often that it’s hard to know the number of families or men and women who will be there at any given time.
I collected at least 12 boxes and 25 bags of clothes, shoes, winter jackets, boots, hats & gloves, blankets & bedding as well as toys and games for the kids and personal hygiene products like toothbrushes and toothpaste and shampoo. These items came from donations made by my readers in the USA and from our local military community.
Lizzie and her family made art bags with paper and crayons to give to each child living at the camp. Of course, we made some delicious goodies to share with them too. I brought two pumpkin pies, Butterfinger fudge and Lizzie’s daughters made two kinds of cookies.
Mary Milam was very proud of the yummies & art we brought!
Before we even walked into the building, the men living there were curious about who we were and what we were doing. They poked their heads out of the windows and doors as I waved and smiled at them. They were as excited to see me as I was to be there!
Once inside, the men opened their doors and watched as we lined the donations in the hallway. They were anxious to figure out what we were doing and why were were there. I encouraged them to come out and look at what we had brought for them.
These two men in particular were excited about the box of shoes first. In fact, the shoes were one of the most popular items for the men.
The men were mostly taking the winter weather and warm items like sweatshirts, long pants, jackets and shoes. There were a few pair of Army combat boots that were very popular as well.
The dozens of blankets went like hot cakes as well as the toothpaste and toothbrushes. In fact, the toothpaste was the first to be gone… within the first 20 minutes of us being there actually. I wish I would have brought more. They said it was very hard to get clean there and they appreciated having a new toothbrush and toothpaste.
The man in the photo above was telling me about another shelter in a nearby town that had several families and he hoped we would bring more donations to them too. So here he is… living in a shelter but still worried about the others. It was unbelievable to witness such selflessness.
The mother on the left in this photo was shopping for clothes for her two children including her son in the red and her daughter who was back in their room. I felt particularly drawn to this woman and spent a lot of time helping her find things for her children because that was her main goal. They needed winter shoes since they only had sandals and warm clothes. At one point, I found a jacket that looked like it would fit her and she smiled and said ‘danke’ but still was only concerned about getting things for her children. A mother’s love for her children is a precious thing to witness. I brought her bags to put all the things she collected in and she was able to leave with a ‘bed-in-a-bag’ plastic bag along with two large reusable shopping bags full of clothes, blankets and toys for her kids.
I felt my heart swell knowing that she was leaving there able to provide for her children.
This man and his son were looking for winter clothes, but unfortunately most of the boys clothing donated was too big for him. He did find a purple pair of overall snow pants he took for his son which fit perfectly. “Who cares if it’s purple, it’s freezing and he needs to be warm!” the father said to me His young son didn’t speak to us and was very shy. I smiled a lot at him was patient, but I can’t imagine what it felt like to be in his shoes away from the only home he knows and around everything different. I would probably be shy too if I had just fled my country and was living in this strange place.
Of course, I needed to serve them the pie and goodies we brought! This is me explaining to them what Butterfingers are. They had no idea. However, they did know what chocolate was!
They asked if the goodies were German and I said no, all American… including pumpkin pie! Which was a big hit!
The men were very kind and caring to our children, which in all honesty caught me by surprise. The man in the photo below spoke very good English and loved watching the girls color! I think it may have reminded him of his brothers and sisters still in Iraq.
He also invited us into his room to show us where he lived. I noticed that the four men who lived in this room took off their shoes when they entered and as I reached down to take mine off as well as a sign of respect for their home, they told me no… it was okay. They said welcome and offered me a seat on their couch. They were proud of the space they lived in and showed us kindness and hospitality.
Unfortunately, the language barrier prohibited me from truly understanding his name… and I didn’t want to ask him 10 times which is why I just refer to him as “he”. I was able to ask him many questions about his life there at the shelter and was truly open and willing to tell me anything I wanted to know.
The first thing I asked him was “What do you need?”. His response… a home.
This is where he lives. One twin size bed, a small table and a wall locker in the corner of a 15ft x 15ft room shared with three other men. He decorated with stuffed animals on the wall by his bed, along with a small rug on the floor and a pink flower blanket. This is where he was proud to call home.
He told me he left his mother, father, and brothers and sisters in the Diyala River Valley of Iraq where he was a hotel manager. Ironically, my husband spent 10 months of his first deployment in the Diyala River Valley with 2/23 Infantry during “the surge” of Operation Iraqi Freedom. This man was there at the same time my husband was… this is who my husband was fighting to keep safe… and how a decade later he’s left his family behind in Iraq and has fled to Germany.
Twice in their lives, my husband and this man are in the same place at the same time. Truly the world is a small place.
His goals were simple. He wanted a home, an income and a life so that he can bring his family here to provide them a life safe from violence and war.
His roommates shared the same desires. They were extremely happy for the opportunity to have a place to live, opportunities for education and a stipend for living/food and hope that they will somehow work hard enough to bring their families here.
One thing that struck me as interesting was that he mentioned several times he wished he had things to clean with. He wanted a clean place to live and this building was always dirty. The bathrooms and showers were on the top floor, but were not in good condition. It was hard to get clean and stay clean without even the basic necessities. Not having access to a place to wash yourself is not something I’ve ever had to deal with… but these men didn’t let it allow it to stop them from making the best of what they had. They were thankful to have heat and a roof over their head.
The man in the photo below spoke amazing English. In fact, he spoke Russian because he was born and raised there but also spoke English because was able to visit Europe often and learned it over the course of his life. He was very friendly and extremely excited that we were there.
After a while of us being there he brought out his deck of cards and asked if we wanted to see a magic trick!
So the kids gathered around and he wowed us all with his magic!
*Grab your tissues… you’re going to need it for this part*
Meet Aman. Aman loved my son Matty. And when I say loved… I really mean it. From the moment we arrived, Aman was instantly attracted to Matty following him around, picking him up, playing with him and loving him.
At first, because I didn’t know him, I was a little leary but I gave it some time and made an effort to get to know him.
Aman just turned 19 years old… yesterday actually. He arrived in Germany on November 15 from Iraq. Two months ago, Aman witnessed his entire family including his mother, father, and three younger bothers & sisters be beheaded by ISIS. He watched them die.
I know. Unimaginable.
Aman told Lizzie about his family with tears in his eyes and then later showed me the pictures of his family. The sweet face of his youngest sister brought tears to my own eyes. While I’m looking at these pictures, saying “awww how cute” Aman was thinking about how he watched his family die. He rushed out of the room in tears, unable to contain his sadness. I was unable to contain my sadness as well for I was brought to tears.
No wonder why he was so drawn to Matty. Matty reminded him of his little sister who was also close to the same age of him.
Aman loved all of our children unconditionally and with all his heart. He didn’t go through any of the donations. He didn’t eat any of the food. He only wanted to spend time with the children.
At one point during our visit, a violent outbreak between two men occurred over some of the clothing. This scuffle brought the women and children outside while our husbands broke up the fight allowing the men involved to cool down. Aman protected our children from the violence, comforted them and tried his best to let them know that everything was okay. He held Mary Milam for at least 5 minutes while she cried in his embrace. He wiped her tears and loved her until she felt safe again.
The desperation between the men who were fighting was not something we shied away from teaching our children about. Our children were scared and confused but it was important for us to teach them about the reality of the situation. This was a perfect opportunity for them to know and understand that these men have nothing… and to survive they often times fight each other for what they want and need… and that is what our children had just witnessed. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Emily and Aman spent a lot of time talking together as well. With only 3 years separating them, they shared a commonality of both being teenagers. Aman flirted with Emily, played with her hair, asked her about her piercings and finger nail polish. They spent time telling each other what things were called in Arabic and English and after a while, Aman asked Emily for her phone number. Emily blushed and said she didn’t have a phone (which is true… she’s grounded from it!) but Aman just wanted to stay connected with someone… with my Emily. It was sweet.
Once we found out that it was Aman’s birthday, we gathered around him and sang him the happy birthday song. With a huge smile on his face, Aman, for a moment was surrounded by family and was loved.
When we left the shelter Matty said, “I had fun today!” Although I know Matty couldn’t comprehend what exactly it was that we were doing, he felt the impact that being there with Aman had. We all did.
It’s stories like Aman’s that need to be heard and shared. The world needs to know that the war in the middle east is devastating families like Amans. Aman told Lizzie that he’s emotionally and mentally destroyed, that his brain is all messed up. It broke my heart and I felt like wanted to bring him home with me, to love him and give him a life. I know it wasn’t possible… but I still wanted to. I think I hugged him 3 times and I hope he felt my love.
These refugees were incredibly grateful for us and our time. They also felt fortunate to physically be in Germany and talked a lot about how much they like it here. Many dreamed of coming to America and several were surprised that we were there, bringing these things to them. America for them was a dream and here were a group of Americans bringing them hope.
The Dalai Lama says, “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.” We witnessed humanity in it’s truest form today.
So will we go back? Absolutely. These men showed us hospitality, kindness and love during one of the hardest times of their lives. You better believe I’ll be going back.
Next time, I’ll be making a hot meal for my new friends and I’ll be bringing cleaning supplies along with personal hygiene items and toiletries. I want them to be able to sweep and mop their rooms, clean their spaces and not have to feel like they live in filth. I’ll bring laundry soap and dryer sheets to help keep their clothes clean too. They need to feel good in their temporary homes in order to feel good about the lives they are trying to build for themselves and their families.
There’s still time if you want to help. If you get something in the mail within the next few weeks, it’ll reach me before I leave Germany at the end of January. I will make sure everything you send gets to people like these.
Although clothes are always a good thing… there are some items that are in shorter supply.
Razors & shave cream
Gender specific toiletries
Boots and athletic shoes
Warm jackets, hats and gloves
Blankets, pillows and bedding (twin size)
Laundry soap & dryer sheets
Towels – bath, kitchen, & cleaning
Cleaning supplies for kitchen, home & bathroom
Brooms, mops & buckets
Paper towels & tissues
Pots & pans
Silverware, plates, cups, bowls
Send these items to: Betsy Eves CMR 415 Box 6018 APO AE 09114
If you live locally and you’d like to visit Camp Pitman and bring donations and spend time with the people there you absolutely can! Currently, there are no restrictions on visitors. A few things to remember if you go…
Do not go alone. Make sure to bring at least one strong man with your group to keep you safe in case of violence. Don’t let this scare you away… just bring someone to help keep the women and children safe.
During the week the adults are in German classes and the kids are in school. Most people aren’t there until after 5:30pm. Evenings and weekend afternoons are the best time to visit.
Be prepared for single men and families. People rotate in and out of the camp frequently so the number of children & families changes.
In the map below, you’ll see the red X… this is where you can enter and leave your donations in the hallway.
Finally, I want you to know why I did this and why I’m sharing it with you. This summer when all I saw on the news was coverage of the thousands of people fleeing their homes due to war and violence and I realized they were coming to where I lived, I felt called to do something for them. I felt a pulling desire that I had an obligation to help. I am fortunate enough to live in Germany, have everything I need in life and have this platform of a blog to do something to help. There was no choice for me. I had to do this.
And now, I have to share what I saw and to share what I felt. I am obligated, as a human being on this planet, to share with you the stories of the people I met. Their stories need to be told and the world needs to know how ISIS and terror have destroyed their lives. I fear that because America is so far away from what is happening here, it is easy for Americans to be disconnected from the reality of the devastation. I hope that by telling these stories I can bring understanding, compassion and lessen the fear that Americans have toward refugees.
I hope the world, like I have, will reach out and hug them, keep them safe and help them back on their feet.
Update: Many people have asked to share this post on Facebook or with friends. The answer will always be YES. Please do share! The entire reason for me writing about it was for the world to give a human face, a human story to these refugees. Share it with everyone!!! Let the world know about these men and families!
Each fall, hundreds of thousands of pumpkins are displayed in the gardens of a palace in Ludwigsburg, Germany. The Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival is the largest of its kind in the world and this year the theme of the festival was “Pumpkins Take Flight.”
There were over 400,000 pumpkins on display at the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival ranging from small displays featuring just a few pumpkins to life-size sculptures with thousands of pumpkins.
I took hundreds of pictures the day we went to the festival and have chosen my favorite to share with you today. It’s hard to grasp the number of pumpkins that were at the festival unless you’re there to see it in person, but I hope you can get the idea!
Festivals in Germany are known for their delicious food and this pumpkin fest is no exception! Although I wasn’t able to try everything at the fest (the line was too long for the pumpkin fries, sad), we were able to try so many others! Here are my favorites!
14 Scrumptious Eats at the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival
Pumpkin Muffin Now this muffin may not look like anything special, but the 6 kids I had with me devoured these muffins! They were spiced perfectly and tasted like pumpkin pie!
Pumpkin Seed Chocolate Chip Cookies Not your traditional chocolate chip cookie, these pumpkin cookies were crisp with a touch of salty from the pumpkin seeds. I may need to try to remake these using pumpkin seeds! Genius idea!
Pumpkin Pound Cake This was my favorite dessert I had at the festival. I love a good quick bread and this cake was delicious, especially with the ganache and seeds on top.
Pumpkin Juice Served cold, this bubbly pumpkin juice tasted a lot like apple juice with just a hint of pumpkin. It was pretty tasty!
Pumpkin Soup Rich, creamy and served with a drizzle of balsamic, toasted pumpkin seeds & rye bread, this pumpkin soup was divine.
Pumpkin Ravioli One giant ravioli filled with vegetables, cheese and pumpkin surrounded with pumpkin soup and topped with balsamic and pumpkin seeds. Heaven. Pure heaven.
Pumpkin Quiche (left) and Onion Quiche (right) Shredded pumpkin, egg, cheese and pumpkin seeds filled the pumpkin quiche while shredded onions, eggs and cheese were in the onion quiche. These two weren’t my personal favorite, but my husband and friend Christy loved them.
Tomato & Pumpkin Pasta Bright tomato sauce loaded with shredded pumpkin tops a perfectly cooked pile of salsa. The kids loved this!
Pumpkin Seed Pesto Pasta Pumpkin seeds are the base of the pesto that tops this salsa. This was my husbands favorite!
Pumpkin Risotto This wasn’t as creamy as a traditional risotto, but it was packed full of delicious pumpkin flavor!
Pumpkin & Apple Turnover For dessert, we indulged in this turnover filled with sweet apples and crisp pumpkin topped with fresh whipped cream and toasted pumpkin seeds. Epic.
Apricot & Pumpkin Jam and Raspberry & Pumpkin Jam I haven’t opened these jars of jams yet from the fest, but I’ve heard from so many people that they are so good it’s a must-purchase every year! I especially can’t wait to try the raspberry!
Pumpkin Champagne Bottles of this pumpkin champagne were also sold in small single serving size, which is why I knew I needed to buy a bottle for home! It’s a definite indulgence worth the €7!
Roasted Cinnamon & Sugar Pumpkin Seeds I only snapped a pic of these roasted seeds with my camera phone for an Instagram pic, but they were the last food purchase I made on the way out of the fest. The perfect sweet and crunchy snack!
If you love chocolate and you’re in Europe you must take the time to visit the Ritter Sport Chocolate Factory, Museum and Store in Waldenbuch, Germany. It is a chocolate lovers paradise!
On my husband’s bucket-list of places to see before we leave Germany was the Ritter Sport Factory & Store in Waldenbuch, Germany. I went to the Ritter Sport store in Berlin a few years ago with friends, but my husband was deployed and couldn’t come. Boo. So, our family made sure to stop for a visit on our last vacation!
The Ritter Sport Factory has a beautiful art museum that is full of art inspired by the square. In the museum you’ll find Marli Hoppe-Ritter’s collection of contemporary geometric and abstract art in the museum building designed by the Swiss architect Max Dudler.* It’s fascinating and really quite fun to see so many bright colors and shapes. Matty, who is three, loved picking out the square shapes in the art and found all the bright colors fascinating to look at. I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures of the art, so you’ll just have to take my word for it!
In addition to the museum, Ritter also has workshop for kids and a cafe. An experience for the entire family!
Upon walking into the Ritter Sport ChocoShop, I felt a rush of excitement and joy as I was surrounded by chocolate! It was overwhelming and exciting all at once and I couldn’t wait to explore the store.
Shelves lined the store from wall to wall filled with every flavor of Ritter Sport chocolate you could ever imagine. Classic flavors like Alpenmilch (chocolate made with milk from cows raised in the German Alps) to adult flavors like Honig-Salz-Mandel (chocolate with honey, salt and almonds) and Rum Trauben Nuss (chocolate with rum, grapes, and hazelnuts).
Chocolate as far as the eye could see. Around every corner was a new flavor to explore!
One of my favorite surprises in the store were the tall, thin boxes filled with chocolate squares reaching one meter long! An entire meter of chocolate! Oh my! Of course, I needed a photo-op with the meter-o-chocolate! HA!
One of my favorite parts about the ChocoShop was the bright colors. Everywhere I turned it was a rainbow.
The store even had a cookbook full of recipes to make using Ritter Sport chocolate! I walked out of the store without buying this and I totally regret it!
Tucked into the back of the store was a special room. The room that had everyone excited and frantic. The Reject Room. Well, that’s not the official name, but that’s what I called it because it was full of the chocolate that wasn’t good enough to sell in the store. The imperfect chocolate. The defect chocolate. The ugly chocolate.
But really, do you care what your chocolate looks like when you eat it? I don’t. So… I bought a lot of chocolate from this room. It was SO CHEAP. Seriously. Pennies. I was in heaven. Blocks of 4 bars wrapped in paper just for me? Yes, please. I’ll take 3!
In this room was also chocolate sold in bulk. Bags and bags of bars of chocolate they just made too many of ready for me to take home and eat. Grab and go.
There were even bulk bags of the mini bars of chocolate. I can’t even. Seriously. What’s this? A huge basket full of tubs of hazelnut spread (aka the Ritter Sport version of Nutella). Yeah. Tubs for days. I could have bought all of those too.
There was one section of the Reject Room that I couldn’t get a picture of because there were people crowded in front of it the entire time. It’s for good reason too… this section had all the test bars. Yes, you read that correctly. Test Bars. Flavors that Ritter was testing out for possible future sale. Flavors you’ll never find anywhere else. Flavors like…
Wiesse Zimt Crisp. I mean white chocolate with cinnamon crispies inside. Have you ever heard of such deliciousness before? I seriously hope this become a staple Ritter Sport flavor because it was so incredibly delicious. Also in the test bar section was Schoko Brownie (chocolate brownie), Haselnuss (hazelnut), and Aprikose Holenderblute (apricot elderflower). My husband was in love with the elderflower bar as it was unlike anything he’d ever put in his mouth before. So good.
We picked out as much chocolate as we thought we needed and went to the register to pay. All of this for only €20. We went back three more times to get more.
Including this super cute tote bag. Living in Germany you tend to collect a lot of canvas bags. When I saw this one it went in my cart. Done deal.
For more info about the Ritter Sport Factory, Museum and Store make sure to goto their website! So much info there to help you plan your trip!
Address: Ritter Sport Alfred Ritter- Str. 27 71111 Waldenbuch phone: +49 (0)7157 974 74
SchokoShop – Chocolate Store Monday to Friday: 0800 – 1830 Saturday: 0900 – 1800
Museum Ritter – Art Museum Tuesday – Sunday: 1100-1800
Museum Cafe October – March: Daily 0900-1800 April – September: Daily 0900-1900
All sites are closed on: Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, 1. May, Whit Sunday, 24. – 26. December, 31. December, January 1 & 6
Parking and Admission: Parking is free. Admission to the museum is €6 for adults. See their website for more pricing info.
You know I wouldn’t goto the Ritter Sport ChocoShop without getting some for my readers! I picked up 8 test bars, 6 mini bars of my all time favorite Ritter chocolate Goldshatz and a 10 year anniversary bar. You won’t find any of these in the USA, that’s for sure!
The test bars include 2 each of Weiss Zimt Crisp, Haselnuss, Schoko Brownie and Aprikose Holenderblute. The anniversary bar is a is a chocolate bar with crispies (knusper) and tortilla chips. Crazy, I know.
Open to USA and Germany mailing addresses only. Fill out the entry form below. Winner will be chosen July 22, 2105.
Simple, buttery cake topped with powdered sugar baked in a lamb shaped pan makes the utterly delicious and traditional German Osterlamm or Easter Lamb Cake!
I wasn’t going to post this cake. I mean, Easter is over and it’s not really something just anyone can make. You have to have the special Osterlamm pan to make and those are hard to get unless you live in Germany. But, when I got asked a dozen times for the recipe, I decided that it was probably a good idea to put it up!
My German friend Mareile remembers her Oma (Grandma) making Osterlamm when she was a child and today Mareile makes it for her two children. Our babies, Matty & Lena, were born 2 weeks apart from each other and are baby BFFs now! This picture was from their first Easter together in 2012.
For most of the world, the Osterlamm is just a delicious treat, but here in Bavaria, Germany it has a more important meaning for those who believe the Catholic faith. The symbolism of the lamb goes back to the Passover lamb, which is sacrificed in Judaism for Passover. Because Jesus was Jewish, the Last Supper took place on the evening of Passover and he was crucified on the day (sacrificed) was, this symbolism has arisen. In Germany, a lamb is sacrificed at Easter, but baked in commemoration of the resurrection, a cake in the shape of an Easter lamb.
In the weeks preceding Easter, each bakery bakes and sells hundreds of these cakes. Some are covered in powdered sugar, some a lemon glaze and some even cover them in chocolate and candies. My favorite is with the powdered sugar and then dunked in my coffee! So delish!
You can get your own Lamm-backform (cake pan) here or here!
I’m definitely making this a new Easter tradition for my family!
Yield: 1 lamb
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
120g unsalted butter, room temperature
110g granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla extract (or 1 packet of vanilla sugar)
160g all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 Tbsp whole milk
powdered sugar for dusting
Osterbackform "Lamm" (Easter Lamb Pan) - 27.5cm x 15cm x 6.5cm
Preheat your oven to 350F or 180C degrees. Butter and flour the inside of the lamb pan and clip the sides back together. Place the lamb pan on a baking sheet UPSIDE DOWN.
Cream together the butter and sugar for about 2 minutes.
One at a time, add the eggs and mix well after each egg. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine.
In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add this to the butter/sugar and mix until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the milk and mix until smooth - no more than about a minute. You don't want to overwork the batter.
Pour all the batter into the prepared lamb pan and smooth out the top. Bake for 45 minutes.
Allow the lamb to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing it to a wire rack to cool completely.
Trim off any excess cake from the seams. If the lamb does not sit upright, trim a little off the bottom to make it level.
Dust the cake with powdered sugar.
Optionally, you can melt a bit of chocolate and pipe on ears and eyes. Also, you can tie a ribbon around the lambs neck.
Every Spring, cities and towns both big and small in Germany celebrate the Easter season with a festive market. The Ostermarkt (Easter Market) in Nuremberg is packed with vendors selling everything from flowers to jewelry, kitchen wares and food. This past weekend, I had the opportunity to meet up with two fellow Army Wife bloggers in Nuremberg for a Bavarian Blogger Meetup!
Melissa of Milligfunk (a Healthy Lifestyle, Travel & DIY blog) and Jamie of North of Something (a Family Travel blog) met up with me and my husband, Dave, for a fun day of shopping and exploring at the Nuremberg Ostermarkt. We began at Starbucks for a coffee and snacks where we spent some time chatting and getting to know each other. I really enjoyed being able to share my blogging experiences with other bloggers who really “get it”.
The Nuremberg Easter Market is nestled between a cathedral and restaurants in the heart of the shopping district of the city. Rows upon rows of little stands line the Main Market Square in front of the Frauenkirsche Cathedral.
Since I had been to this market several times before, this trip I wanted to focus on all the food and kitchen related stands to share on JavaCupcake. I could have spent many more hours browsing the isles and dreaming about stocking my kitchen with all the fabulous tools, pots and pans and pottery I found in the market. If only I were made of money!
My favorite kitchen stand is this one. It’s right on the corner of the first row at the market and I stop her first every time I come. There are at least two other stands just like this one at the market, but for some reason this is my favorite.
As you can see, this stand is packed full of kitchen goodies. Let’s take a closer look…
Whisks, cutting boards, bottle cleaners, pizza boards, spoons… and that’s just in this tiny little section of the stand! I think I stare at the whisks and pick up every single size each time I visit. I want one of each please!
And then there’s the bakeware. Muffin pans (they don’t really make too many cupcakes in Germany) and mini cake pans… and see that bunny and sheep pan in the back left? I wish I would have taken a better picture of that, but those are traditional cakes that are made every Easter here in the shape of a bunny or a lamb! I am going to have to buy a pan before I leave Germany!
Germans love cakes and tortes and anything they can bake in a springform pan. Seriously. This was just one small section of these types of cake pans. I really wish I could go home with one of everything. (Yes, I’m probably going to say this after every photo!)
Cookie cutters for days!! I really wish I knew how to flood cookies using royal icing because I would want to make a cookie in every one of these shapes. There were probably half a dozen stands with cookie cutter displays with at least this many, if not more to choose from. Some of the stands even had cookie cutters that looked like cathedrals from neighboring cities!
There’s one stand that sells silicone everything. Mats, toppers for your pots, candy molds, cake molds, ice molds. Anything you can imagine that could be made into a mold, they sell it.
And then there’s this. Oh. Em. Gee. I like die and go to Heaven every time I come to this stand. The colors alone are enough to bring me joy for days! If I could buy the blue, lime green and orange… one of each in those colors…. well, let’s just say I’d NEVER LEAVE MY KITCHEN. I’d just stand there staring at all the beautiful tools!
I mean really, have you ever seen anything like this before? So many pots! And they’re all different!
And these ladles. I mean, they have holes in them so it’s not like I could use it for soup… but I mean COME ON! I’d just want to get one in each color to hang on my wall because they are so pretty!
So besides kitchen gadgets and tools… this market is full of dishes, pottery, tea pots and any serving dish, plate or platter imaginable! In the picture above you can just see one small sample of the rows and rows and rows of dishes to choose from.
I almost came home with one of these tiered stands too. Unfortunately, I was kidless and strollerless on this trip to the market and had no where to put something this big while I shopped. But oh aren’t they pretty!!??
Some of my favorite pieces were the brightly colored Easter egg plates. Wouldn’t one of these be so cute on an Easter brunch table?
Can we talk food now? Seriously… there was so much good food at this Easter Market. I could have eaten breakfast, lunch and dinner there… plus a few snacks between!
Is is the best bread stand at the market. Behind the front counter they are baking bread fresh all through the day! Piles of freshly baked bread line the windows of the front counter area. They have two choices of bread sizes… big or bigger!
This bread isn’t a white bread… it’s a darker, richer, denser bread full of flavor. My favorite is the mini loaves filled with raisins. So good! Every time we come to this market, my husband and I go home with at least €20 in bread! We’d be crazy not to!
Behind the counter is a German man who I’m sure has been making bread his entire adult life. He stands at the same spot most of the day, pulling giant balls of dough out of a tub and hand cutting them into pieces to bake. I probably could have watched him do this for hours. It was fascinating!
If you’ve been reading JavaCupcake since I’ve moved to Germany, you may remember me mentioning a few times how much I love potatoes since being here. My snack of choice at any market or fest is always the potatoes. The Nuremberg Easter Market is no exception.
There’s nothing new or special about these hard candies. You can buy them at any local grocery store here in Germany. But, there is something about seeing a long row of these big glass jars full of candy with piles of little bags behind them. It’s massive and I get sucked in every time I see it and go home with at least three flavors!
These are freshly fried and seasoned thinly cut potato chips. And yes, they taste as good as they look. Crisp, salty and so addicting! I love these so much, I made my husband take a picture of me with them! Ha!
For lunch, Dave had a beer battered fish sandwich… made to order. He said it was probably the best fish sandwich he’d ever had. He had no idea what that white sauce on top was, but he said it was delicious!
The market also had lots of German favorites like these baguettes topped with cheese and veggies. This type of open-faced baguette topped with things is pretty typical. My favorite are the ones topped with garlic butter and cheese… mmmm yeah. Cheese!
Both Jamie and Melissa enjoyed roasted corn on the cob and needed 10 napkins each to clean up the deliciousness! I’ve never seen a mountain of corn before though, have you?
And we can’t forget about the pretzels the size of your head! Oh… and covered in CHEESE!
These pretzel shaped donuts were something I’d never seen before. They weren’t at the market, but they were at a little shop that lined the market. I’ve seen pretzels and I’ve seen donuts but not pretzel donuts! YUM!
One of my husband’s favorite places to shop at the market is this salami stand! Dozens of flavors of salami freshly made and ready to be taken home! It’s hard to pick just one, but I think Dave decided on the chili salami… the spicier the better for him!
I spotted this sweet little old Germany lady getting down on her fish sandwich. I couldn’t help but want to capture this moment… fur coat and perfect hair and all. This is seriously how the Germans get down when it’s time to eat. Good food, amazing traditions and no apologies.
I know these next few pictures aren’t of food… but they are my second favorite part about the market (besides the food!). Spring is my favorite time of the year. The winter chill is making it’s away out and the flowers begin to bloom. I can’t help but be in awe of their beauty.
I really had so much fun exploring with Melissa and Jamie! It was a pleasure to meet both of them! I commented at the end of the day that I don’t know if I would ever agree to meet up with a stranger in the middle of Europe unless it was another blogger! Especially an Army Wife blogger!
By the end of our fun afternoon, we were all exhausted but happy with our bags full of market goodies!
I am really looking forward to chatting more with both these wonderful ladies about Army life, blogging and friendship! Make sure to head over to Melissa and Jamie’s blogs (links below!) to read their take on the Nuremberg Easter Market and our meet up!
Milligfunk – a Healthy Lifestyle, Travel & DIY blog