Frohe Weihnachten! December is in full-swing and Christmas is on the way!
While exploring the Christmas aisle at the supermarket, I spotted an interesting pack of bite-sized Christmas cakes. Although they’re from Tesco (a British supermarket chain), these cakes are made in Germany. Plus, they are vegetarian-friendly! This post is all about biting into Germany’s special festive cookie.
Lebkuchen (apparently pronounced leb–ku–chen – I’m still on the road to nailing it!) is Germany’s version of gingerbread cookies (it turns out that lebkuchen directly translates as ‘gingerbread’). Its roots date back to the Middle Ages, and variations similar to the lebkuchen of today include honey cakes savored by the Ancient Egyptians. It is a significant part of German Christmases in general, but Nuremberg (located in Bavaria) is referred to as the lebkuchen capital. As Nuremberg was abounded with spice trading back in the day, the city has been (and currently is) home to passionate bakers of lebkuchen.
Like Tesco, some people classify lebkuchen as a cake, while others consider it a part of the cookie family. Regardless of its classification, these stars look quintessentially Christmas and they have ‘winter’ written all over them just from the packaging. The lebkuchen from Tesco comprises a medley of spices. Cinnamon, ginger, anise, mace (originates from the coating of nutmeg seeds, and it has a subtle nutmeg flavor) are combined in the mix of spices.
After my very first bite of lebkuchen, a single thought crossed my mind: das ist gut!
Dark chocolate reduces the intensity of spices in these little cake-like cookies, but it doesn’t remove the signs of spices. Those spices shine incredibly well with dark chocolate. Dark chocolate only assumes a supporting role while the union of spices represent the titular character (the lebkuchen) gloriously. The stars that are layered with a sugar glaze on top and dark chocolate on the bottom possess a gentler flavor effect, but it doesn’t eliminate the spices completely – it elevates them in every bite. The ‘spice : sweet’ ratio works excellently – especially for people who aren’t too adventurous with diving into the realm of spices.
This cake/cookie does indeed have a cake-like texture. It’s soft and made with sugar, spice and everything nice. I paired these shining stars with a cup of rose black tea.
All in all, I feel like lebkuchen is a cake spin on gingerbread. It embodies flavors of the holidays and these stars are perfect as a treat at Christmas gatherings or simply enjoyed with a Christmas movie.