Last week, we posted a Santa Barbara Travel trip report from our advisor, Cathy Kroll. She wrote all about her gluwein-filled riverboat cruise, as she visited the Christmas markets along the Danube River. Cathy sailed with AMAWaterways, and this week we bring you a blog post written by the owner of that company. It was originally published on AMAWaterways‘ website, but we’ve asked to reprint it here: her description of a favorite childhood treat is so vivid, we can almost taste it!
by Kristin Karst, Executive Vice President and co-owner of AMA Waterways, originally posted on 12/27/13
The holidays may be over, but as friends and guests return from their Christmas Market cruises, their suitcases stuffed with handmade ornaments and delicious seasonal treats, I am reminded of my childhood in Germany. Thought I would share some of these memories with you!
My hometown of Dresden is famous for its stollen, a moist cake made with dried fruit, nuts and spices and topped with powdered sugar. The Dresden Stollen is an old, old tradition that dates back to 1474. The cake can be quite dense and heavy – nearly 4 ½ pounds! – and it still is my favorite dessert during the Christmas season. But it has to be the “official” cake, which is only available at select bakeries in Germany. My mom always sends one of these stollen cakes every year to my home in California, so that our family can enjoy this special treat when we are at home during the holidays.
Dresden holds a Stollenfest every year, which in itself has a fascinating history. During the reign of Augustus II the Strong (1670-1733), he ordered the Bakers’ Guild of Dresden to create a gigantic stollen for everyone in the city to enjoy. They had to build a special oven and design a huge knife to accommodate this massive cake, which was large enough to feed 24,000 people! Today, Dresden bakers continue this tradition by baking a stollen that weighs an astonishing 6000 pounds! It’s paraded by horse and carriage to the Christmas Market, where it is ceremoniously cut into pieces and handed out to the crowd.
Where else but Europe would you experience such wonderful things? This is one of the many reasons why our Christmas Markets cruises are so popular. Many of our guests have taken these cruises multiple times, eager to experience the magic of Christmas in Europe again and again. We love that our cruises have become an annual tradition for our guests!
Hope you had a wonderful holiday!