Note: This is my annual Christmas list of gifts for the food lover, incredible edibles and a few that aren’t meant to be eaten. As the holidays approach, I hope that you find something here that will gladden the hearts (and stomachs) of the foodies on your gift list, including you.
In this series:
Gift #1: Something with Peanut Butter
Gift #2: Cookies for the Adults
Gift #3: Salads + Spreadable Edibles
Gift #4: A Christmas Bread
Gift #5: Fabulous, Flaky Pastries
Gift #6: Cookies + Milk
Gift #7: Double Dips
Gift #8: The Dessert Comes First book – Signed + FREE Shipping!
Gift #9: A Bounty of Bread
Gift #10: A Chewy Cookie That Stays Chewy
Joe De Roxas, the self-proclaimed Brown Baker, has one of the most diverse product lists of any baker I know. I wrote about his Brouffles earlier this year, a madcap brownie-truffle mashup of which there’s also a green tea version. In addition, he makes a Blondie White Chocolate and his version of a New York Cheesecake, both of which I’ve not tried.
For Christmas in the meantime, Joe turns his focus to something else entirely and is now offering Stollen. A bread-cake from Germany, its characteristic oblong shape with tapering ends is meant to resemble the baby Jesus in swaddling clothes. It’s for this reason the bread is also sometimes referred to as Christstollen.
A Christmas specialty, Stollen offers a bounty of candied fruit and citrus peel, raisins, currants, and sultanas. Its brandy perfume mesmerizes as does its surprise marzipan center, itself awash in an aroma of almonds.
Comparisons between Stollen and fruitcake abound, to which Joe replies rather wryly, “I just feel that it’s about time that Stollen should be on the Christmas table of every Filipino rather than the fruitcake. Frankly, I’m not a fan [of it]; it’s heavy in the tummy and has a strong alcoholic aftertaste. Stollen, on the other hand, is very rich without being cloying… and it’s very addictive.”
Joe’s Stollen has a very firm, dry texture. The bread is almost not enough to accommodate the surfeit of fruits and that tunnel of marzipan running through it. If you appreciate the nuances of spice and their occasional aggressive assault on the senses – that marzipan is awfully almond-y – then you’ll enjoy this bread. I suggest eating this bread when it’s thawed to room temp and dipped into a dark Madeira or mulled wine. Naturally, a snifter of brandy would be the ideal partner for this once-a-year bread-cake.
Brown Baker by Joe De Roxas
0905 356 8640 / 044 796 0145
On Facebook: Brownbaker
On Instagram: brown_baker_manila / brownbakerph
Stollen: P220 / loaf
Green Tea Brouffle: P420 / 9 pcs.
Blondie White Chocolate: P349 / 9 pcs.
New York Cheesecake: P849 / 8 inches (Other flavors available)