While walking down the main street of shops in Heidelberg, Germany, a store window full of what looked like many sorts of snowballs, covered in chocolate, nuts, puzzled me, candy.
Inside, I was lucky to meet Julia Diller, the daughter of the owner of the famous German chain, Diller de Schneeballenknig
“What is a Schneeball?” I asked her.
Julia told me that a Schneeball was made of pieces of dough, turned into a ball and deep fried. The recipe is old and traditional, particularly in the town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany where different shops and bakeries produce this traditional sweet and sell it in bakeshops. Julia’s grandfather was a baker by trade, and her father continued the tradition. He was the first to add creative touches to the old Schneeball recipe, a modern take that soon caught on in popularity. He started the custom of dipping it in chocolate and has now added all sorts of toppings and fillings, resulting in twenty-nine varieties of the Schneeball. Their family has shops in numerous cities in Germany and more information can be found on the website: http://www.schneeballen.eu/wir-ueber-uns.html
Julia really grabbed my attention when she told me that the Schneeball has been around for three hundred years. She told me that this method of making pastry was used during the Thirty Years’ War in Europe, as a way for soldiers to carry food that would keep for many weeks. (This must be information that has been passed down through Julia’s family, because it is a rare day that I cannot back it up with any information on Google.)
It became a popular treat eaten at wedding celebrations as far back as 300 hundred years.
Julia explained that an Schneeball has always been made with common ingredients that most people had in their larder. Eggs, flour, sugar, baking powder and spices were the basic ingredients. Other recipes include cream, butter and plum schnapps. The dough is made, rolled out and cut in strips. The strips are formed into a mould and deep fried. Then the fun begins with the dipping and fillings.
Gazing through the showcase in the shop, the sky was the limit on making these sweet treats desirable.
What a food history discovery I made that day. A trendy looking shop, selling a sweet treat that has been around for three hundred years.
The Schneeball that fed those of the past keeps rolling into the future.
I found food history around every corner on a recent trip to Germany, Switzerland, and France, so stayed tuned for a rash of interesting articles.
Next….Learning to make cheese – The old way.