Taste Test: Vancouver’s Best Stollen
Stollen to prove the fruitcake haters wrong.
December 8, 2017
Let’s be honest: no one ever says fruitcake is their favourite holiday treat. But this is stollen—fruitcake’s bready, marzipan-stuffed, sugar-dusted German cousin—and these six local bakeshops are out to prove that it deserves a spot on your Christmas cookie plate.
Best in Show
Thomas Haas Chocolates
“Baking is quite mathematical and he has his math right,” said Grande of Thomas Haas’s perfectly balanced Christmas bread. Our other judges were equally pleased with its combination of orange, rum, marzipan, almonds and fruit: “It has the right amount of everything in there,” said Boll. Multiple locations, thomashaas.com
This Langley bakery—a regular fixture at Vancouver farmers’ markets—just missed out on the number-one spot, earning major points for its classic flavours and appearance. “The granulated sugar adds a really nice texture,” said one judge. “It would be excellent toasted.” 20540 Duncan Way, Langley, sweetthea.com
Purebread’s stollen is far from traditional: “It’s like a chocolate croissant and stollen had a baby—it’s so tasty and unusual,” said Boys of this version’s dark chocolate and extra-creamy frangipane layers. Our other judges agreed, claiming it could have won were it in any other type of pastry competition. (But “it’s not stollen,” said one.) 159 W Hastings St., purebread.ca
Yew Seafood and Bar
The judges were perplexed by Yew’s decision to use golden raisins, but they did enjoy the “fresh and fruity taste” and what they thought was homemade marzipan. Presentation (“It looks a little church-lady”) could have been better, though. 791 W Georgia St., yewseafood.com
The nutty quality of this stollen had one judge comparing it to a Lärabar, but the overall flavour was lacklustre; it had a “surprisingly small amount of spice,” and it didn’t taste like the fruit had been soaked in alcohol. “They’re cutting corners,” said one judge. 143 E 3rd Ave., swissbakery.ca
At first glance, the judges thought the bread-to-marzipan ratio was way off, but after taking a bite they realized “you couldn’t eat more without getting a sugar shock.” This “too sweet” and “too dry” stollen ended up being their least favourite. Multiple locations, faubourg.com
Meet the Judges
Uwe Boll is the owner of Bauhaus restaurant. Hailing from Wermelskirchen, Germany, this filmmaker-turned-restaurateur brought a palate for traditional, not-too-sweet stollen to the judges’ table.
Wendy Boys may be the owner of local chocolate company Cocolico, but this pastry chef and chocolatier also knows her way around stollen—she makes a homemade loaf for her family every year.
Lorraine Grande is our Twitter contest winner! Every Christmas, she looks for a Vancouver-made stollen to make her German parents proud—hopefully, these results will lead her in the right direction.