One of the German Christmas traditions in our home is to have stollen. I must admit that as a child I ran (in the opposite direction) when I heard the loaf was on its way to the table. It's just not a very kid friendly item (I was partial to milk chocolate). As an adult, my mouth begins to water when I have an opportunity to enjoy this holiday treat, especially if it's from overseas.
Getting authentic stollen from Germany is not an inexpensive proposition. And, even though you can make your own and even get your hands on some really good product stateside, it's not the real thing. The real stollen has almost 600 years of history, significant religious overtones and only 150 German bakers make it. And, that my friends, is what you're paying for...how the rich tradition, story and history makes you feel from the time you open the box, until the last bite.
This year, thanks to our close friends, the Thalmans, we received our authentic stollen from the Kreutzkamm bakery in Munich. It was very tasty. But, the real gift was the story and how it brought back so many fond memories of my childhood, my mother and grandmother and my German heritage. It was also nice to see that the baker recognizes the importance of the story. Here's what's on the card that accompanies the very handsome package...
When Stollen was first baked, the ingredients were very different. The Advent season was a time of fasting, and bakers were not allowed to use butter, only oil, so the cake was tasteless and hard. In 1647, Prince Elector ErnstDuke Albrecht decided to remedy this by writing to the then Pope, Pope Innocent X. They explained that Saxon bakers needed to use butter as oil was so expensive and hard to come by, and had to be made from turnips, which was unhealthy. The Pope granted the use of butter without having to pay a fine - but only for the Prince-Elector and his family and household. In 1691 others were also permitted to use butter, but with the condition of having to pay annually 1/20th of a gold Gulden to support the building of the FreibergCathedral. The ban on butter was removed when Saxony became Protestant.
If you take the time to read the card before you partake, I assure you the cake will taste even better...and that's worth a lot more than some raisin bread at your local bakery.
Traditions make great stories...and often, that translates into a lot of sales. Please think about that the next time you meet with your marketing team.