Big Sur Bakery Holiday Stollen

For a short window this year, we're incredibly excited to be able to offer Big Sur Bakery's much-celebrated holiday Stollen. It's delivered straight to us from their tiny wood-fired bakery set, south of here, on the dramatic California coast. I email on occasion with baker Michelle Rizzolo; we have friends in common, and I love her work and sensibility. She wrote me a couple years back and mentioned that, each year, during the holiday season, she gets to work making traditional Dresden Stollen. It's special, and clearly made with a lot of love and care. -Heidi

Stollen is an ancient fruit bread/cake dating back to 500AD, when people baked in communal ovens and created preservation techniques still used today for this time-honored loaf. The Big Sur Bakery stollen is a yeasted dough, stuffed and studded with rummed raisins, candied citrus, quince and almond paste, then dipped and sealed in clarified butter. The flavors meld as the loaf cures under a layer of vanilla-scented organic sugar.

While we typically enjoy the stollen shortly after it arrives, it's also brilliant for shipping and aging, becoming more complex over time — two, three, even six months after baking. The yeasted bread has a very long natural shelf life and tastes better with age. Michelle and the stollen elves say it best - this intricately flavored holiday loaf is a celebration of love and good taste to be savored as you and your family usher in a sweet new year