You have the perfect excuse to visit the bakers and get treats while you’re in Aachen. Printen is a type of gingerbread that is only made in the German City, so, your one chance to try it is while you’re there (unless you want to order it online). Plus you can have a well deserved break from all that walking around the Cathedral.
There are plenty of bakers to choose from… each have their own shop fronts so you can buy some to take home, or cafes so you can enjoy some straight away with a cuppa. Or hell, why not do both!
So what is Printen I hear you ask…
A kind of Lebkuchen (traditional German Christmas treat) but Printen has a very rich and special history. The term is a protected designation of origin and so all manufacturers can be found in or near Aachen. It’s a bit like Champagne only coming from one region in France, except sweeter!
OK, here is the history bit – Printen isn’t actually German, but started life in Dinant, a beautiful town on the River Meuse in Belgium. People emigrating from Dinant to Aachen brought it with them in the 15th century, and apart from the sweetener being changed to sugar beet when Napoleon’s trade embargo meant sugar was unavailable, it is pretty much the same as is was in the Middle Ages, so really its like you’re eating a piece of history!
But does it taste any good…
The taste is unique, it’s almost like a soft, thin gingerbread cake. It generally comes either glazed, or covered in chocolate or indeed covered in chocolate and nuts. We got ours from Nobis and went with one of their selection tins, so we could try different varieties. (€11 for 13 pieces)
Both Phil and I had the same favourite… covered in white chocolate with hazelnuts. I personally think this is because the sweetness of the Printen, contrasted perfectly with the nut topping. Also the chocolate was really creamy, which is always going to give it extra taste points.