For many, one of the main discussions around the kitchen counter at Christmas dinner will be all about the bird. Fresh? Frozen? Brined? Deep-fried?
Or, this year, perhaps: “Where did you find a turkey?!”
Add to that a debate: Why must Brussels sprouts be included every year? Who makes the best gravy? What’s for dessert? And maybe, here in B.C. wine country, what bottles should be chilled or decanted and which ones should be served with what course?
There’s usually little talk about one staple on the table—or served for dessert—unless it’s particularly good or unusual.That staple is bread and it’s always present in some form or another.
This year, why not seek out a loaf, bag of buns or a holiday cake that you’ve never tried?
Hit up a local bakery or give one of these a go in your kitchen. To quote Nelson Mandela, “Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.”
Stollen—A German creation that is the infinitely more buttery and sugar-dusted version of fruitcake, stollen has a vein of marzipan running through it, and traditionally is left for days or weeks before being served so the flavours can meld together. Pairs well with a fruit flavoured tea.
Bobalki—Slovakian in origin (or Czech, as history would have it), these are round poppyseed-glazed buns that are one or two bites of sweet, slightly nutty heaven. Bring these out at brunch for a quick bite next to your morning eggnog latte or a hazelnut infused hot chocolate.
Challah—Traditional Jewish bread shaped into a loaf, but can be transformed into a heart or another symbol of the season. A light, fluffy, buttery, golden melt-in-your mouth experience with just a hint of sweetness. One of the roots of the statement, “I shouldn’t have filled up on that bread!”
Krendel—Russian Christmas bread that takes the form of a large pretzel, after being rolled like a jellyroll as it is filled with dried fruits. It might be topped with a dusting of sugar or icing. The fruits inside are usually pears, apricots, prunes, and apples might that have been simmered in white wine (or water).
Panettone—Those large boxes contain a towering dome-shaped creation from Italy traditionally with raisins and almonds, plus candied citrus peel and fresh citrus zest. Best when fresh and lightly chewy, but it has a long shelf life. A suggestion from an internet chef? Spread a slice with Nutella and grill.
Fruitcake—Some argue that it’s been around since Roman times. Hopefully the one you find at the back of the pantry is not that old.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.