This past weekend, my fiance and I drove to Dresden, Germany to attend the 18th annual Stollen Festival and walk around the city’s Christmas market. Apparently thousands of people attend Dresden’s Stollen Festival every year in search of a slice of Dresden’s famed Stollen, a Christmas cakey-bread like loaf that dates back to the Middle Ages. The crowds were certainly out this year as we shuffled along, shoulder to shoulder with our fellow stollen seekers. During our afternoon of sweet yeast bread, topped with icing, we sampled several types of stollen including one with raisins, one with candied orange and lemon peel, marzipan and poppy seeds and one that tasted rather alcoholic. We attempted to purchase a slice to bring back with us to Prague but to our dismay, the bakery booths only sold stollen by the pound (1, 2, 5 +) which was 15 slices too much for us; so we just stuck to the free samples.
One of the main attractions of Stollen Fest is their yearly competition that involves baking a large Stollen for the parade. In 2007, apparently the bakers baked a stollen that was 4.2 kg which beat the original Guinness Book of World Records entry. Outside of sampling stollen, it is fun to walk around the packed laneways filled with food, regional delicacies, holiday smells, and gifts. We sampled a waffle with apfelmousse (aka apple sauce), doughnut bits dusted with white sugar, my fiance had a Bratwurst and we shared some candied nuts and an Alpine Sprizz (Aperol + mulled wine, which was not my favourite taste). While we would not rush back for a yearly pilgrimage, we were happy we had the chance to experience the hype behind Stollen fest. If you are looking for a couple good stollen recipes to try out, there is one here, and here.