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Christmas cookies made in Salzburg | © Pixabay
Cookies made in Salzburg
Cookies, gingerbread etc. can always be counted on to sweeten the run-up to Christmas. We had a chat with some of Salzburg’s local bakers – and were fortunate to coax a few valuable insider tips, tricks and anecdotes out of them as well.
When the snow begins to fall and the Salzburger Christkindlmarkt opens its doors, there is definitely a hint of Christmas in the air. Almost without knowing why, we stroll through the streets with a big blissful smile on our faces, chink together our mugs of mulled wine with total strangers and “graze” through the delectable assortment of seasonal treats from local bakeries. The toughest part is knowing where to begin, of course. That’s why we went ahead and visited with a few bakers, keeping our eyes and ears open for any recipes they happened to reveal to us.
Stiftsbäckerei St. Peter: living tradition
Its location is truly one-of-a-kind, which is why we reflexively reach for our camera: The mill wheel turns and turns in front of Stiftsbäckerei St. Peter, pointing the way to the business now run by Franz Grabmer, a bakery that is the very definition of the word “rustic”. A master miller and baker with incredible know-how and a true passion for his profession, he has held the lease on this, the oldest bakery in Salzburg, since 2007. During Christmas season, handmade Kletzenbrot supplements his traditional array of breads out of the wood-fired oven, natural sourdough bread and brioches.
Kletzenbrot unlike any other
So, what are the baker’s favorite cookies? Franz Grabmer doesn't hesitate: “Gingerbread!” Though he does also swear by his very own Kletzenbrot, which is a kind of fruit bread that is very popular in these parts. "Your tastebuds are in for a real treat if you combine the original sourdough from the bakery here with the fruits and spices from your own favorite fruit bread recipe”, the baker explains. The result definitely has a "Wow!” factor, and we are thrilled that we can actually order the sourdough ready-to-go from the Stiftsbäckerei.
Stiftsbäckerei St. Peter, Kapitelplatz 8, 5020 Salzburg, Tel.: +43 662 847 898
Nagy Lebkuchen- & Kerzenmanufaktur: Family rules!
She has been wielding the gingerbread scepter in her family’s own business for over 30 years: Gabriela Adlmanseder is the guardian of over 40 honey-gingerbread recipes, some of which have been handed down from her great-grandfather. “I have contributed three or four of my own. After all, you have to stay on the ball”, says the trained confectioner and master gingerbread maker with a slight chuckle. Just before Christmas, chocolate gingerbread is especially popular, filled with orange marmalade, marzipan or nougat. She has a personal weakness for Spritzkuchen, a kind of cruller – in this case with chocolate or red currants. Mmmh…!
Storing your gingerbread
Gingerbread should never be stored where it is exposed to air from your heating system. “A cellar is ideal”, reveals Gabriela Adlmanseder and laughs, “though nobody has one of those nowadays.” Alternatively, you can keep your gingerbread in a bread bin with a piece of dark bread. That way, the gingerbread stays nice and soft. So, do the professionals ever have anything go wrong? Yes, indeed! “Before my time, somebody here accidentally got the spices mixed up: which turned the gingerbread into more of a pepper cake, literally, that definitely grabbed everyone’s attention.”
NAGY Lebkuchen- & Kerzenmanufaktur, Sterneckstraße 22, 5020 Salzburg, Tel.: +43 662 874 740
Hand- und Feinbäckerei Alois Essl: Love is in the air
What does the word “Christmas” evoke in the mind of a baker? “It’s all about anticipation, of course”, says Stefanie Essl of Bäckerei Essl. "Christmastime is always something truly special and beautiful, something we associate with harmony and love. Cookies are part of that, because they are one of those products that give us a warm and fuzzy feeling.” That said, rum balls, either dark or light, have pretty much the same effect on Stefanie Essl.
Authentic raw ingredients combined with time
"In our bakery, all of the cookies or homemade by hand”, explains Stefanie Essl – no chemical additives, but rather butter and other high-quality ingredients instead. That also goes for the vanilla crescent cookies, Linzer Augen and gingerbread, all of which are really popular with her customers. One tip from the expert to all hobby bakers: “Use authentic raw ingredients and give your products time to lie there and rest; they need it”. With those simple tips in your culinary arsenal, nothing more stands in the way of creating your own personal corner of cookie and gingerbread heaven.
Hand- und Feinbäckerei Alois Essl, Ignaz-Harrer-Straße 41, 5020 Salzburg, Tel.: +43 662 431 123