23 June 2006

Not exactly fruitcake, but of the same family

I'm traveling in Zurich (or do you say Zürich) right now, and when wandering through their vast underground shopping mall near the train station I came upon a shop that sells a lovely little cookie from nearby that is fruitcake-esque. It's called a leckerli (or läckerli, again, if you're into umlauts), and it's from Basel.

Many different parts of Germany and German-speaking Europe have spicy little cookie or cake type things (lebkuchen, pfeffernusse, etc), and this is one of them. I'll claim that they're related to fruitcakes (and thus deserve mention here) in that they contain honey and preserved fruits as well as nuts and Kirsch (cherry liqueur? How did they do that? I don't taste it).

Many people might find them to be sort of depressing little squares of chewy dough, but I love them--I find the chewiness lovely, as well as the rich scent and flavor of honey, much more complex than just plain ol' sugar.

I had first discovered them in the closet of the house where I stayed when I was a fille au pair in France. The parents were divorced but the mom was from Basel and must have left the cookies behind as part of the settlement. There they remained in the closet for the entire 6 months I lived there--a bit lighter by the end, however, as I continued to sneak into the bag to steal a couple now and then. That being said, I can attest that they keep forever (or at least 6 months).

I'm bringing home a small bag, because (sigh) once again, I'm one of the few who actually like them--so no one to share them with. For the sake of my fat ass and the dress I just bought here that could fit just a bit better, I'll take the smaller bag, merci.