We sprang for Springerles

We took two unplanned trips to Hermann, Mo. this week in search of Springerle cookie molds. Hermann is a wonderful old city on the banks of the Missouri River founded by German immigrants.

Our first trip there was last Tuesday morning. The main place to get Springerle molds, as far as we understood, was the visitor’s center at the Deutschheim state historic site. We called ahead and got an answering machine message which said it was open daily.

So, we made our way to Hermann, thinking we’d visit the museum, buy some molds, and eat some food.

Along the way, it began pouring rain. So when we arrived, I went up the steps solo to see if it was open. It was not.

So I walked around for a few blocks, looking for stores that were open and asking if any of them had Springerle molds. Nobody did.

But I did find some cool shops.

Since we had come all that way, we certainly weren’t going to just turn around, rain or no rain.

We went into a nice coffee shop called “Time for Pie” and ordered some bratwurst and pie. A very nice combo. The place was perfect for the girls because it had toys (and no other customers were around).

We were disappointed that so many stores were closed on Tuesday, but not totally surprised.

We checked out a few more stores that were open, and Jadzia got to see some really beautiful Nutcrackers. We ended up buying some cranberry preserves and some tea-time honey so we wouldn’t go home empty-handed.

The return

As it turns out, I got a rare Sunday off this weekend. One of the shop owners had told me that there would be a Kristkindl market in Hermann that weekend and that there might be a few people selling Springerle molds there. Plus, Deutschheim was certain to be open.

So, after church and a bite to eat at the Grace Cafe, we headed back to Hermann. The weather was warmer and dry, so we were able to get out and all walk around together.

We hit Deutschheim first. They had a great selection of molds. The man behind the counter explained many things to us, and demonstrated the many of the molds using playdough. Their molds were resin reproductions of old wood originals. We ended up buying two molds: a nutcracker and a bell design.

We heard there were free cookies to be had at another part of the Deutschheim site (it comprises multiple houses and buildings close together), so we walked down the street to the Strehly house. Inside, a guide showed us around. We saw very old Christmas trees made of goosefeathers, stereoscopic glasses, woodburning stoves, old butter churns, and best of all many kinds of old toys.

One door over was the Strehly winery. Inside we saw one of the only surviving carved German wine casks from before Prohibition. There were also wooden shoes, an old loom, and cookies. Since we were the last ones to visit that day, we basically had the cookies to ourselves. The girls hammered away.

After a nice long visit, we walked a couple blocks to first street. I let the girls walk ahead so I could run back to the bridge that leads into Hermann across the Missouri River. The sun was setting and I wanted to get some photos while the light was good.

Once I caught up to the girls, we found that the Kristkindl market was closed. It had finished at 4 p.m. So we took a look around Blanche’s, another nice gift shop. The lady inside offered us some more cookies (yay).

As we walked back up the street, we noticed that a lot of businesses in Hermann close at 4 p.m.

We ended up stopping in a deli/frozen custard place to eat some ice cream. The girls, of course, didn’t protest.

After that, it was time to head home. It felt funny to be driving for an hour and a half in the dark, and to arrive home at an early 7 p.m.

Both trips were shorter than perhaps would have been ideal given the distance, but still we had fun and came home with what we wanted. Yoli got started baking as soon as the girls went to sleep.

About Josh Renaud

I'm the Emperor of the Renaud Empire, which is to say that I'm the husband of a Boliviana and the father of three daughters and one son. When I'm not conquering lands and expanding borders, I'm a newspaper designer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Find me on Twitter (@Kirkman) or Google+.
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2 Responses to We sprang for Springerles

  1. Judi says:

    Years ago Norm and I took the train to Hermann on a weekday and had the same experience…many sites closed. We have been there numerous times, especially back in the day when we did Volksmarches. Climbing up and down Hermann’s hills on a 10 KM Volksmarch on a warm fall day can be quite a workout. But we have had many good times there. Glad you got to go and take the family and glad Yoli got her Springerle molds. I used to have some, but sold them at a yard sale when we still lived in Ferguson.
    Judi L.

  2. Nance says:

    I really enjoyed reading about your trip to Herman. About ten years ago some friends and I took a bike trip along the Katy trail from St. Charles to Herman. Yes, it was a long day and very hot. we spent the weekend and while on that trip I went into a shop an saw so many beautiful springerle molds. Having only a bike for transportation I was not able to make purchases but the memory has lived on. I am so glad to know springerle molds are still available and will be planning a trip to Herman soon.

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