4 Yummy German Christmas Treats!

(Our trip to Berlin was in part sponsored by the VisitBerlin tourism board)

One of the best things to do in Berlin is to walk – aimlessly stroll around without really knowing where you are or where you’re going – that way you get your own impressions of Berlin, and find your own favorite places and interesting spots.

When you decide to take a walk, one thing is for sure: you will never go hungry – there are cafés and bakeries EVERYWHERE, around every single corner of every little street.

We spent the last week tasting many typical German xmas treats – here are a few that we tried…

1) Quarkbällchen

We found these quark balls in a Christmas market, and while we had no idea at the time what we just had bought, we knew just by the alluring smell around the wooden hut that we had to try them.

They are called Quarksbällchen, and are small balls made from flower, egg, sugar and Quark, which are deep fried and then coated with sugar.

Quark is something very typical German, and it’s very hard to explain what it is and what it tastes like, but it’s a type of cheese similar to sour cream.

You can’t have too many of these balls, they’re just SO tasty!

2) Baumkuchen / Tree Cake

Nobody knows exactly when and where this cake was first baked, but a theory is that it was invented in the German town of Salzwedel.

The cake is very dry and almost paper-like, and in my opinion rather tasteless, but you can sense a bit of almond in there.

Our cake was coated in dark chocolate, which made it taste better, and it was good together with a hot cup of tea.

I was more fascinated by all the effort they put into making the cake than the actual taste – it is almost impossible to make one of these cakes in your own home.

Bakeries use a special machine for the Baumkuchen, which is made on a spit by brushing on layers of batter and rotate it around a heat source – you heat it until it turns brown, and then you add another layer.

This method makes the cake look very similar to the tree rings you see on trees which have been cut down, which is why the cake has the nickname ”tree cake”.

3) Christstollen

If there is one thing that the Germans know how to make, it’s bread – they have even come up with a way of making bread into a dessert, with this famous and loved bread-like fruit cake called Christstollen.

The cake is filled with juicy raisins, candied and dried fruits and almonds, and is mixed with different spices like cardamom and cinnamon.

Some even go all the way and put marzipan and rum in the cake – which is then covered in icing sugar.

The recipe for this moist bread dates back to the early 15th century, and has always been a cake you consume during Christmas.

I didn’t think it sounded like a very good idea to mix bread with those ingredients, but once I tried it I absolutely loved it!

4) Lebkuchen

Lebkuchen is a traditional German christmas treat famously known as Gingerbread.

Lebkuchen is a very old cookie, invented in the 13th century by the medieval monks in Franconia, Germany.

The traditional Lebkuchen is very tasty, soft on the inside and often with marzipan and different kinds of nuts inside (walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds).

The more good quality nuts inside the better the cake, and the taste is heavenly.

You see these cookies all over Berlin’s Christmas markets, often decorated with some nice text like “I love you” – but these are of a harder type and not as genuine.

It’s also common to make “witch houses” from that type of gingerbread, which became popular from the story about Hansel and Gretel.

What do you think? Which treat would you like to try?

(Our trip to Berlin was in part sponsored by the VisitBerlin tourism board)

14 Responses to 4 Yummy German Christmas Treats!

  1. Sandra December 22, 2011 at 7:15 pm #

    oh those look SO yummy!!!

    • Sofia - As We Travel December 23, 2011 at 9:19 am #

      They are absolutely delicious, perfect treat for xmas!

  2. Debbie @ European Travelista December 22, 2011 at 11:26 pm #

    I’ve had Stollen and Lebkucken and really enjoy them both! I would like to try the Quarksbällchen. 

    • Sofia - As We Travel December 23, 2011 at 9:22 am #

      Quarkbällchen was Nathan’s overall favorite – it tastes really nice. Make sure you try it next time you’re in Germany.

  3. Jeremy Branham December 22, 2011 at 10:21 pm #

    Wow, these look DELICIOUS!!  I have a HORRIBLE sweet tooth and would love to try every one of these!  The Lebkuchen may be at the top of my list but I would eat every one of these!

    • Sofia - As We Travel December 23, 2011 at 9:20 am #

      Me too, we’ve been having xmas sweets every day since we got to Germany – it’s hard to stay away from them when they taste so good and they’re everywhere..! 

      Lebkuchen is one of my favorites, but only the traditional version.

  4. Melvin December 23, 2011 at 10:41 am #

    I’m German & I really don’t like Lebkuchen & Christstollen! Quarkbällchen are fine, but Baumkuchen is delicious!!! Yummy!

  5. Adam Dudley December 23, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

    When Heather and I lived in Berlin this summer I discovered Quark for the first time. But on ice cream! The taste vaguely reminds me of some Indian yogurt-based sauces I’ve had. Very tasty.

    Thank you for sharing this post. It brings me back to Christmases spent as a child with my German grandmother. Stollen, Kuchen, Lebkuchen, and Pfefferkuchen were all on the holiday treats menu around our house. Mmmm…

  6. Sinisa December 23, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

    Quarkbällchen is my favorite. I like them all but Quarkbällchen, mmm

  7. Rebecca December 25, 2011 at 10:36 am #

    nothing as good as German treats!!!

  8. information technology December 26, 2011 at 8:28 am #

    yummy!

  9. Work in Australia December 30, 2011 at 8:06 am #

    That is one of the many delights in travelling to different parts of the world, you get to taste the wonderful local food. I think I would go for the Gingerbread – YUM!

  10. Anonymous January 17, 2012 at 11:30 am #

    one word ..YUMMYY..

  11. New York Hotel February 7, 2012 at 9:32 am #

    Wow, Thanks for sharing nice post. Quarkbällchen is my favorite. I like them all but Quarkbällchen, mmm