“Advent”: The perfect gift for your Christmas baker

“Advent”: The perfect gift for your Christmas baker

by Anna Leigh Bagiackas
Stripes Europe

Lebkuchen, St. Nicholas Day, fire-tongs punch, Advent wreaths, Christmas Eve traditions… These are just a few of the things I quickly heard about and observed during our first Christmas in Germany. But what was the significance of some of these German Christmas rituals? As both a lover of Christmastime and an avid baker, I wanted to learn about some of these foods and traditions while we celebrated the holiday season in Germany.

Meet my newest Christmas companion, the cookbook “Advent” by Welsh-German author Anja Dunk. If you know a baker itching for a new project or you’re eager to try your hand at Christmas stollen, lebkuchen, chocolate biscuits, macaroons or even handmade tree decorations like dried orange slices, this is the perfect gift.

Growing up surrounded by both Welsh and Bavarian Christmas traditions—and lots of time in the kitchen—this book is focused on the German recipes and activities that Dunk grew up learning from her grandmother and family. She centers on the “Bunter Teller,” a plate or tray of different treats and biscuits, enjoyed all season long and especially on Christmas Eve in German homes.

Another bonus? The book is written in English, but has German translations of the recipe names, so you can practice your vocabulary of German baked goods. (Perfect if you want to impress your neighbors as you deliver them a plate of treats.)

A couple of the recipes I’m most excited about have more to do with decorating my Christmas tree than eating (but, of course, you can certainly decorate with and eat many of these). Some of these recipes include gingerbread cut-outs for ornaments and both dried apple and orange slices to hang on the tree or on strings with cranberries and other treats. You’ll also find meringue and chocolate ornaments ideas.

Beyond the many baked goods, you will also find recipes for festive drinks, Christmas market specialties and even recipes typically made for Sylvester (New Year’s Eve) and Carnival.

Whether you know someone who loves diving into recipes and keeping a revolving stash of Christmas cookies in the oven, or you anticipate a lot of cozy weekends at home, Anja Dunk’s “Advent” will surely inspire you with the holiday spirit and share some of traditions that make Christmas in Germany so special.

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