A German Christmas with love from Conditorei Kreutzkamm
It is once again Christmas time, and the store is filled with happiness. One of the happiest moments is unpacking the boxes that arrive from our bakery friends in Germany, Conditorei Kreutzkamm. For twenty-one Christmases, the At Home Store has been importing Christmas Stollen, Lebkuchen, and Marzipan directly from this fifth generation, family-owned bakery in Germany. For us, it started when our children were small, and friends in Munich would send a Kreutzkamm Stollen every year at Christmas time.
So, when the At Home Store opened in 2002, we knew that the Kreutzkamm Stollen would be a wonderful addition to our pantry items. An email to the bakery was carefully drafted in German. Herr Frank Reiser wrote back (in much better English than our German) and a relationship was started. That relationship has resulted in two large boxes arriving by German post each year before Christmas. We have had the chance to meet both Frank Reiser and Elizabeth Kreutzkamm-Aumüller, the current owner of the bakery, and can attest to the integrity and kind nature of both individuals.
At Home Store customers look forward to the Stollen, the tins and packages of Lebkuchen, the Marzipan Hearts, Chocolate Covered Marzipan, and Nougat. This year, we have added the traditional Honey Gingerbread Cookies and Cinnamon Stars to our collection.
A Bit of Kreutzkamm History
Conditorei Kreutzkamm began in the city of Dresden in 1825, when 25 year old Heinrich Jeremias Kreutzkamm applied for a license to open a confectionery shop. For nearly 200 years, the Kreutzkamm family has been baking the quintessential German Christmas pastry, the Stollen, a loaf-shaped cake with dried fruit and dusted with powdered sugar.
The Second World War put an abrupt end to everything. The bombing raid on February 13, 1945 reduced the city of Dresden to rubble and ashes. The lifework of four generations was destroyed within 90 minutes.
After the tragedy in Dresden, which was meanwhile under Russian administration, a new start in Dresden was out of the question. After many stages of flight and imprisonment, Elisabeth's father, Fritz Kreutzkamm, was able to find a job with the US military government in Bavaria.
In 1950, Fritz Kreutzkamm once again started up the bakery completely from scratch in Munich, where it has been running non-stop ever since.
Shortly after the fall of the fall of the Berlin Wall, in the spring of 1991, Elisabeth's mother Frederike, who had been running the bakery since the death of Fritz in 1983, moved back to Dresden and once again opened up Café Kreutzkamm on the Altmarkt in Dresden.
In 1993, Friederike and Elisabeth acquired the Dresdner Backhaus, a 19th-century bakery, so that today the Kreutzkamm family is producing again in both Munich and Dresden.
The two Kreutzkamm bakeries work together, using the same family recipes, though each location's Stollen turns out a bit different, due to the water, flour, and other ingredients used, and of course, the hand of the baker.
This year, 2022, has been challenging year for the bakery due to the war in Ukraine. The bakery almost daily receives news that this or that ingredient is not available, or that there has been a price increase. We wish peace for everyone.
We hope that you have chance to try a Stollen or package of Lebkuchen this holiday season!
Note: If you are feeling adventurous or want to know more about Christmas in Germany, we have a wonderful book Advent: Festive German Bakes to Celebrate the Coming of Christmas. In its pages, you will find authentic recipes, pictures, and traditions. (See open page below featuring a recipe for Cinnamon Stars!)