A gift from Germany as we leave Europe.
My wife surprised me yesterday morning by offering me a slice of Stollen cake. I didn't hesitate and I eat my Christmas gift as part of my lunch.
'How ironic', I thought, 'just as we complete our divorce from our European neighbours and 16,500,000 of us are unwillingly deprived of our European Citizenship, to celebrate a Christmas moment with a uniquely European special occasion food'.
Stollen is a fruit bread of nuts, spices, and dried or candied fruit, coated with powdered sugar or icing sugar. It is a traditional German bread eaten during the Christmas season when it is called Weihnachtsstollen (after "Weihnachten", the German word for Christmas) or Christstollen (after Christ).
Commercially made Stollen has become a popular Christmas food in Britain in recent decades, complementing traditional dishes such as mince pies and Christmas pudding. All the major supermarkets sell their versions, and it is often baked by home bakers.
It started me thinking about how much harder it will be to access the centuries of European history, culture, arts, intellectual thought, rich multicultural cuisines and a developing sense of community. I am sad today particularly for our next generation of younger citizens.
And do you know, I couldn't find any evidence of a British version of Stollen cake anywhere, in this instance 'stollen cake' is an intruder, now thoroughly adopted in our Christmas traditions.