Let’s Talk About Stollen.

DSC_0095Do you know what stollen is? If you don’t, its basic definition is that stollen is a sweet yeast bread of German origin that contains fruits and nuts (Source: Merriam-Webster). And sweet it is! I’ve been nibbling on this Quickbury Christ Stollen and it’s yummy! I sort of feel like I’m doing something bad because it’s not December yet and we haven’t even had Thanksgiving yet, so to think about stollen – even eating it – this early before Christmas seems sort of wrong! But it tastes soooo good!

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Stollen can be eaten as is, or often times could be served with butter or preserves. I enjoyed my slice of stollen as is, plain, but every now and then some butter is nice with the flavor of the sweet bread! There’s plenty of flavor and the bread is by no means dry at all. Do make sure after you have opened your package of stollen that you wrap it up well to prevent it from drying out. I usually wrap mine in foil, nice and tight!

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Stollen should not be confused with fruitcake, they are two separate items! The main difference between stollen and fruitcake is that fruitcake is often soaked in rum or other spirits. You won’t find that in a stollen recipe!

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In some ways this reminds me of what Latvians bake called “Zeltene Maize” or a “Kliņģeris”. A sweet bread with raisins, fruits and/or other nuts and dusted with powdered sugar. My grandmothers used to make this bread and it was always delicious in the morning with a cup of hot coffee or tea. The kliņģeris is more of a Latvian birthday bread “pretzel” with powdered sugar and almonds on top. Very similar in the likes of stollen!

Quickbury is a company based out of Quickborn, Germany, which is north of Hamburg. They specialize in a wide range of cookies, breads, cakes and sugar-free edible items. During the Christmas holiday season, they produce a variety of traditional stollen and gingerbread. What makes Quickbury unique is that they are always expanding their assortment of products to meet the requirements and desires of their customers.

If you have not ever tried stollen or previous years have been a fruitcake fan, why not ditch the fruitcake and go for stollen this year? Stollen is perfect for those holiday celebrations when guests are around or perfect for adding to breakfast on those early Christmas mornings watching presents being unwrapped.

What else do you like about the holiday season? Are there any other favorite baked items, goods, treats that you long for when the holiday season approaches? Please share! Even better if you can share a photo or link! Post a favorite picture on our Facebook page or tag us in Instagram! Tweet and retweet with us on Twitter! There may be a special guest in the upcoming weeks traveling across Michigan, so stay tuned for Traveling Santa! Watch for other holiday ideas and fun on Pinterest!

As always, nibble on my friends!

Springing Forward, But Falling Backward.

Has today’s title confused you? I truly don’t want to get you in a panic, but I am going to have to discuss some upcoming holidays for next year! I am talking about Valentine’s Day and Easter! I know, I know! We *just* made it through Halloween! Thanksgiving is not far away, heck it’s not even Christmas yet, although Christmas music is already blaring on a local radio station as of yesterday! The next major event happening around here would be Daylight Savings for those of us who observe it, which means we will have to fall back one hour this weekend.

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Springing forward with holiday items, yet falling back an hour on the clocks!

Now that we have that out of the way… let me show you these spring products! Belfine is the maker of Fine Belgian Chocolate and they have these super cute chocolate pops and they all have super cute names! And while I am at it, I want to let any of our retailers know that the spring deadline is approaching! You know how to get a hold of us if you need any assistance with your order! You’ll find Belfine chocolate in the spring line up!

Let me first introduce you to Love Bear Arno, who is the perfect chocolate companion for your Valentine’s occasion! Per Belfine, “Each lollipop is individually wrapped in a transparent bag with clip and presented in a beautiful Belfine display.” Belfine’s chocolate figurines and lollipops are all hand crafted and it is really neat how they come to life.

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This is the process for the chocolate characters:

  1. Start with a sketch
  2. Add some color
  3. Play with clay
  4. Prepare the mold
  5. Personalize the prototype
  6. Welcome to the family!
  7. Name and release

When the figurine is created, it is actually named and then copyrighted before venturing out into the world. How awesome is that?

Next up we have Jenny Duck and Lamb Betty for Easter. These Easter designs are sure to please everyone, young and old!

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What makes Belfine so unique and special?

  • Premium Belgian Chocolate made in Belgium
  • Unique & cute chocolate figurines
  • Creativity & innovation
  • Long term partnerships
  • Highest quality standards
  • Dedicated customer focus
  • Worldwide presence
  • Family owned business
  • The perfect packaging
  • Flexible production capacity

Belfine is definitely “kid approved” – as you have seen the smile on my youngest’s face as he’s chomping on poor Love Bear Arno! I even I heard, “Mom, this chocolate is so yummy!” from that little 4-year-old munchkin!

And as a mom, I can appreciate that there aren’t any ingredients in these chocolates that I don’t approve of! Belfine’s products are free from any artificial flavors, colors and fats. The chocolate also is free of preservatives, vegetables fats and GMO-free. As for the coloring in any of the chocolates, European standards require that only E-approved colors are used.

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Belfine Belgian Chocolate Lollipops. Get yourself some! And as I wrap up this post, I’ll bring Mr. Ginger out to remind us of the Christmas season that is approaching. On that final note, don’t forget to fall back one hour this weekend for those of us observing Daylight Savings Time! (And submit your orders in for the spring deadline for our retailers!)

Travels Through and Near Nüremberg.

While I wished I was along to take these photos, the photos throughout this post for today come from Monica, our Vice President at Gourmet International. As our team was traveling to Germany for the Anuga trade show in Cologne, they also happened to stop at the Wicklein Store in Nüremberg and at Riegelein in nearby Cadolzburg.

From one of my earlier posts, we shared that the famous German gingerbread or traditional Lebkuchen, as it is called, made by Wicklein, has arrived to the warehouse for holiday orders. The team stopped into the “Die Lubküchnerei”, the Lebkuchen Bakery. Here, one can enjoy the scent of festive spices and the fresh aroma of coffee with a tasty pastry. If visiting, and you want to learn how to bake Lebkuchen, they offer workshops! How cool is that! You get to learn how to prepare and bake Lebkuchen, take them home with you and more! Check out the website for more information. It is something you would have to plan and book ahead of time, so be sure to sign up in advance!

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Another stop on their travels in Germany, the team stopped at Riegelein to check out the chocolate shop and watch chocolate makers performing their work at “Chocothek“. Riegelein is known all across Europe and across the globe for its German chocolate products. They make wonderful chocolate figurines for every holiday: Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day – even New Year’s Day – and MORE! Riegelein is a family-owned company, started by baker and confectionery master Hans Riegelein and his wife Gerda back in 1953. The company, in 1998, has now passed down to the reigns to Peter Riegelein, marking the second generation running the traditional family-owned company. I don’t know about you, but looking at all those figures on display in the photos below are making me crave some delectable chocolate!

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Growing up, I recall my mom buying Riegelein chocolates during the holidays, most notably, Christmas time. The Christmas figures are what I recall from my youth, being stuffed inside my stocking or maybe mom had (or even still does!) put a little tray of mini Santas or St. Nicholas’ out on Christmas Eve for us to nibble nibble on! And I am quite sure it was a Riegelein Advent Calendar that my brothers and I were always eager to open every day leading up to Christmas! Now, who thinks that next time I should tag along…? Nibble hint, nibble hint!? (Tee hee!)

Arrival of Holiday Lebkuchen in the Warehouse.

For those of you officially counting down the days to Christmas, we present you the link to the XmasClock. To be honest, I didn’t really want to write an actual number down, because I am afraid to look. I don’t want to know the actual number of days it is, so a link you shall receive!

We even had this guy stop by to help us announce that these products are in!

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Our new warehouse is starting to get filled with many holiday favorites! Various types of chocolates, hard candies, cookies, cakes, Advent Calendars, and so much more are filling the warehouse! We cannot forget some of our favorite German delicacies that we enjoy as the holidays arrive. We are talking about Lebkuchen (gingerbread) and Pfefferkuchen (peppernut cookies), which traditional roots can be traced all the way back to the 13th century and are made in Nüremberg. Wicklein call their product “real Nüremberg Gingerbread”.

Take a look below, on top is the Wicklein Burggraf Lebkuchen with nuts. Below that is the Wicklein Pfeffernüsse Cookie.

From the Wicklein website:

“The exact composition of the Lebkuchen-dough is, of course, both then and now a well kept secret. But the basic ingredients remain the same: Eggs, flour and honey. Hazelnuts, almonds and walnuts. Candied orange and lemon peel and – essential for the taste – the spices: aniseed, ginger, coriander, cloves, pimento, mace, cardamom and cinnamon.”

We also have Mini-Elisen Lebkuchen (see photos below), which is a type of German gingerbread that contains little to no flour, so the primary base is made of ground hazelnuts and almonds. Elisen Lebkuchen must not exceed 10 percent flour content and must have 25 percent nuts. The nut content helps keep the Lebkuchen extremely moist and delicious! In order for these cookies to hold together, they must be placed on oblaten wafers. What are oblaten wafers? Well, they are basically, a cookie wafer on the bottom of cookies. From my research they may resemble Communion wafers and are actually made in the same manner. The Elisen Lebkuchen was named after the daughter of a Nüremberg gingerbread maker.

In order to be officially allowed to have the legal protection as a geographical designation of origin, Wicklein’s most important requirement to carry the famous “Nürnberger Lebkuchen” title is to manufacture their products within the Nüremberg city limits. Wicklein has held this designation since 1996 and it is recognized all throughout Europe.

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These Lebkuchen are delicious, moist, flavorful (the spices are soooo good!) and you can taste tradition that has been proudly kept and passed down the many centuries! So you better not pout, and you better not cry… otherwise the big fella dressed in red won’t be showing up this holiday season! Enjoy the nibbles I’ve left for you today!