Scottish cafe owners talk about festive food and traditions in Germany

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In Germany, the holiday season is a time of reflection, relaxation and conviviality between friends and relatives.

There are few to no parties which is a huge difference to how the season is celebrated here in Scotland.

Anika, 40, and Andreas (Andy), 53, Schulz moved to the Highlands about six years ago from Munich in Bavaria, southern Germany, and opened their own cafe in Nairn, known as the name of Cafe Lavender, in July of last year.

Mandeltorte.

It is based in the couple’s bed and breakfast, Cawdor House, which was built in 1849 as the rectory of the Free Church.

The cafe offers a German tradition of Kaffee and Kuchen (coffee and cake). And during the holiday season, that includes the goodies that are served in Germany throughout Christmas.

Christmas in Germany

One thing that Anika, who studied economics and tourism and worked for over 20 years in the hotel and accommodation industry, and Andy, a well-known photographer, are keen to point out is is that Christmas in Germany involves a lot of baking.

The Christmas cookie recipe was and remains one of the couple’s favorites.

Anika said: “Stollen is one of the most popular foods to prepare and eat as Christmas approaches – known as Adventszeuit in Germany.

Anika and Andy with a variety of German pastries.

“It’s a traditional German fruit bread containing nuts, spices and dried or candied fruits, coated with powdered sugar or icing sugar and often containing marzipan.

“Apart from that, Christmas cookies and mulled wine are also very popular.

“During the season, you cook a lot with your family and friends, and you often find yourself in the Christmas markets after work.”

Andy added: “This is definitely what we miss the most about Christmas in Germany. The steps.

Christmas stolen.

Transfer traditions

While we Scots regard Christmas Day as the most important day of the season, Christmas Eve takes first place in Germany.

This is when families and friends exchange gifts and put up their Christmas trees.

“Our main night is Christmas Eve,” said Anika. “That’s when everyone gets their gifts.

“I have fond memories of my parents ringing a bell after winter walks on Christmas Eve, and we would walk into the living room with the tree in place, the candles lit, and all of our presents arranged.”

A traditional German Christmas market.

Andy added, “We also have Christmas lunch or dinner, which isn’t much different from what’s served here. Instead of turkey, we usually have roast venison.

Best of all, tarts are Anika and Andy’s favorite traditional Scottish treat, enjoyed at Christmas.

Andy said, “It’s a much quieter season at home. Now is the time to focus on yourself, meet your friends and family, and reflect on the past year.

“We continued our traditional German Christmas in Scotland, with Anika’s mother and, before Covid, Andy’s brother as well.”


Vanilla kipferl

Makes 25

Ingredients

  • 280g flour
  • 210g butter
  • 70g of sugar
  • 100g ground almonds

For coating

  • 75g vanilla sugar
  • 75g icing sugar

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 140C Fan / 160C / 320F / Gas Mark 3.
  2. Gather all the ingredients (minus the coating ingredients) in a blender and make a paste. Place the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  3. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and form small crescent-shaped cookies and bake for 11 minutes.
  4. Mix the vanilla sugar and the icing sugar together. Roll the cookies (still hot) in the sugar mixture and let them cool completely.

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