Welcome everyone! I've spent most of the last week putting final touches on Christmas decorations and writing out holiday cards, which means I can stop licking envelopes and start licking my fingers/plate/spatulas. Christmas is celebrated differently throughout the world and every culture has its own variation of Christmas eats. East coast to West, arctic to tropical, I'm a fan of global Christmas cuisine. I am particularly fond of German Christmas sweets and traditions (Krampus, now that's a tradition) If you have a hankering for some German Christmas specialties, well then you barked up the right Tannenbaum. I'm not sure how or why I became so interested in German food and holiday traditions but I'm going to attribute it to having a German best friend for the last twenty two years. Thankfully, the Upper East Side of the city still continues to host a smattering of German shops where I can find some near authentic items, including some Christmas specialties. My first stop was Schaller und Weber with the hopes of picking up some fine condiments and sausages but I was a tad a late in getting there, alas, I was locked out. I'll be back for you, wurst.
I zipped over to Glaser's, a long standing New York City favorite for stollen, aka German fruitcake, and other treats. The stollen are twenty dollars but they are a powdery brick of rum soaked goodness that could convince anyone to keep a fruitcake. I also got some black and white cookies, supposedly the best in the city (see below) and some Bavarian butter cookies. If you look at the cookie display on the top left you may see them, I certainly didn't wait long enough to take a picture before hurling them in my mouth. Crisp and delicious, they were a near perfect match to my best friend's recipe. I pushed every last crumb in and, you know it, licked my fingers clean of the buttery confection.
Cookies and stollen are great but my favorite German Christmas specialty is lebkuchen. I could (and have) eaten packages of these in a single sitting. Dense, spiced gingerbread atop an uber thin wafter and coated in either sugar or chocolate, how can you really go wrong? There aren't as many suppliers of this treat as I'd like but the only one I need is Leckerlee. The story of how Leckerlee came to be is a charming one and product is currently available at New York City Christmas markets (Union Square and Columbus Circle) and online. If you're in need of a hostess gift, the online shop has various tins of these beauties that any sweet tooth would appreciate.
Hopefully I whet your appetite, or at least piqued your interest, in German Christmas traditions. Go easy on the Gluwein and until the next dish, ciao!