Kristkindl and cookies

Three years ago we took our first trips to Hermann, Mo in search of Springerle cookie molds and a fun time.

On those trips, we missed out on the Kristkindl Markt, not realizing how early in the day it finished. It’s a bit tricky for us to make it out there, with our church and work commitments on the weekends.

Anyway, Sunday we went straight from church to Hermann. Upon arrival, we drove to a town square area where the Kristkindl had been the last time we were in town. But it was empty. Yoli found a friendly older couple who explained the market was being held at Stone Hill Winery. The gentleman also advised us to visit St. George Church for its rectory tour, which he assured us was beautiful and full of trees.

Eventually we found the correct hill, parked the car, and wandered into the winery’s gift shop, thinking it might be the market. Lots of grapey gift items, but not what we wanted. At last we were directed to the right spot.

Inside we found plenty of lovely handicrafts and food items. If I was a lottery winner, I’m sure I could have bought a minivan-load of stuff, especially the beautiful hand-turned wood items.

Particularly eye-catching to me were some hand-painted clay Springerle “cookie” Christmas ornaments. Given Yoli’s affinity for Springerles, this seemed like a natural purchase. The lady selling them loved our little kids and let each of them choose an extra little ornament as a bonus. We also purchased some beeswax ornaments from a honey vendor.

We left the winery and made our way back downtown to St. George’s. We walked through the sanctuary of the church, which was beautiful but bereft of trees. The girls were quick to point this out: “Where are all the trees?” A lady directed us to the other side of the church where the rectory tour began.

What a beautiful tour! We only explored a fraction of it before the kids (nap-less and hungry) began to get restless, Joseph especially. Each room had its own theme, and all were striking. Yoli and I could have stayed all evening exploring it all.

Our final stop was the Deutschheim historic site. Time was running short (I had to get back home in time for work), but we browsed the rooms with old toys and Christmas decorations, transporting back in time.

And at last, we made it to the most important part of our visit: the Deutschheim gift shop, where they sell replica Springerle cookie molds. Yoli has been itching for some new ones to increase the variety of the cookies she makes.

The gift shop setup was different this year than the last time we were here. The gift items were being sold out of one of the old, electricity-less buildings. So all the transactions were being done long-hand. It took quite a while, and when it was done, the worker who was helping me realized he had the carbon paper in backward. So he had to copy the receipt again. Ah, the modern conveniences we take for granted. A nice Square credit card reader hooked up to an iPhone sure would have been handy for the gift shop folks.

And the proof of our purchase: Springerle cookie dough waiting to be pressed into molds and baked.

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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