Winter is synonymous with several things: snow, log fires, thermal clothing… and food. As the leaves drop and Autumn officially leaves us behind, we welcome the hearty stews and warming soups to see us through the coldest months. However, there are a few items that only grace the bakeries and supermarket shelves for a couple of months a year. Like the Cadbury’s Creme Egg over Easter, we only have a small time period to indulge in our favourite festive treats. What’s your treat of choice?
Although the mighty mince pie has changed a lot since its beginnings as a medieval dish containing actual meat, there is no doubt that it has become a seasonal staple. The mince pie comes in many forms, from miniature to deep fill, shortcrust pastry or flaky, with more obscure flavours being introduced every year. For recipes and taste test reviews, visit http://www.mincepieclub.co.uk/.
Personally, I feel that Germany knows what it’s doing in regard to the wintertime. Other than the fact that the Germans are more likely to enjoy a white Christmas, and they only have to venture to the Bavarian hills for a touch of skiing, their festive food (often found in their incredible Christmas markets) is also on another level. Think candied almonds in an array of flavours, pannfkuchen (crepes) with toppings of cinnamon and marzipan, plätzchen gingerbread cookies, and of course, stollen. Stollen is a traditional German fruit bread made with chopped candied fruit and/or dried fruit, nuts, spices, and then often topped with powdered or icing sugar. For a superior stollen, the dried fruits are soaked in rum or brandy beforehand.
Is your go-to Christmas indulgence a chocolate yule? The Yule Log is a traditional cake served around the festive season, mainly in France, Belgium, Canada and other French-speaking countries. Although all Yule Logs try to resemble a part of a tree, they can have notable differences. Sometimes the cake used for a Yule Log will be a plain vanilla sponge with a cocoa buttercream filling; alternatively, you may find your Yule Log to have a cocoa sponge with a creamy, vanilla filling.