Gingerbread may be the best known Christmas “bread” in the U.S. Hopefully you’ll enjoy a few bites before the season ends (and send someone an adorable Gingerista gingerbread family that mirrors his or her household).
All are delicious with spiced tea like Constant Comment, which is also available in decaf and green tea versions. You can substitute an unflavored black tea.
If you want to put some spirit into your snack, dessert or tea time, serve the Christmas bread with mulled wine (warm spiced wine) or with a sweet dessert wine, such as Spumante or Moscato.
Gather the goods and invite friends to a special Christmas tea party.
CLASSIC SWEET CHRISTMAS BREADS
Think of these sweet breads as cake.
Stollen, the traditional German christmas cake or “bread.” Photo courtesy The London Hotel, New York City.
Pandoro is a star-shaped yeast bread sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar, created in 19th-century Verona.
Panettone is a Milanese Christmas yeast bread, filled with candied fruits and raisins, that dates to medieval Italy. It is tall, dome-shaped and airy.
Panforte is short and dense. While the origins of a sweet leavened bread date back to Roman times, this dense mixture of almonds and candied fruit, sweetened with honey and flavored with spices, was born in 12th century Siena. See our favorite panforte (it’s gluten free).
Stollen was created outside of Dresden, Germany, in 1437. It is so prized that the city has trademarked the name, Dresden Stollen. The shape, covered with powdered sugar, is said to represent the diaper of Baby Jesus! See the history of stollen, and how Dresden erroneously claims their bakers invented it.
If you’re in New York City for the holidays, you can stop by The London Bar by Gordon Ramsay at The London Hotel, 151 West 54th Street, not far from Carnegie Hall, Tiffany’s, the Time Warner Center/Columbus Circle and Times Square. Through the holidays, you can enjoy a slice of fresh-made stollen with spiced wine and a side of rum. It’s served daily from 3 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. If you prefer tea, they’ll gladly oblige. (Editor’s Note 2020: Alas, now closed.)