Stollen time - Western Canada's Best?
My favourite Christmas season sweet bread (besides the occasional Panettone). My idea of a good stollen means it's fairly dense and buttery with a bit of homemade candied peel and usually raisins or currants (sometimes slightly dry) with a nice eye of real almond paste but not necessarily pure almond paste.
There are many authentic versions in Germany but this is the one you see most often in N. America. Bad versions are more like a spice bread and the almond paste is mainly icing sugar with almond flavouring. Or the those cheap versions, covered in icing sugar and sold in delis, that have been made months ago...
In Vancouver there has been one clear winner for the last couple of years (IMHO) - Thomas Haas, great ingredients and technique and you pay for it. Haven't tried this year's batch yet but by early next week I'll be on my first.
Whole Foods was sampling their housemade version today and it's pretty poor. It's more of a spice bread than a Stollen. Costco was selling a version last year made by Pohl's bakery that was not bad at all for the price.
In Edmonton La Favourite made a pretty good one but there must be some newcomers (Duchess perhaps?) as well as Calgary.
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Last year Rise Bakery was selling Stollen - and it was wonderful! Just how you described with the almond paste and currants. I asked them yesterday when they would start selling it again and they said around December 7th (but I think only at their Bow Valley location - only open Mon-Fri during the day).
I've been partial over the last several years to the stollen at Manuel Latruwe. Not cheap, but excellent ingredients and I like the almond paste in it.
Looking forward to seeing other Calgary locations. I'll have to try Rise in a couple weeks.
Barring my own, which is AWESOME!!!!, La Boulangerie in the Sutton Place Hotel puts out a really nice one. It's Wolfgang's German recipe (he used to be the pastry chef there but was promoted to F & B Manager).