Dresden Stollen Festival
The Dresden Stollen Knife
The Grand Dresden Stollen Knife is inextricably linked with the Stollen Festival. The tremendous tool is not only a visual attraction, but has to fulfil a very special task every year. The Royal Court Baker alias master baker Walter Saeurig and the Dresden Stollen Maiden use it to festively cut the oversize Stollen at the Dresden Christmas fair (Striezelmarkt). Before that, the silver-plated knife, 1.60 meters long weighing 12 kilos, is presented to thousands of spectators during a spectacular procession.
The Dresden Stollen Knife has a long history. Its origin dates back to the beginning of the 18th century. In 1730, August the Strong, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland arranged a legendary amusement festivity known as Zeithainer Lustlager. Even today, it is still the epitome of the baroque way of life because of its luxury and splendour. As a highlight of that festivity, the master baker Zacharias presented not only a huge Stollen weighing 1.8 tons, but also an oversized Stollen Knife which had been designed and produced solely for that occasion.
For more than two centuries the original knife had been kept in the Dresden`s Royal Silver Vault (Hofsilberkammer). Since the confusion of World War II in 1945 it has been missing. Dr. Peter Mutscheller, rediscoverer of the Stollen Knife, had searched for the traces of the precious knife in museums, libraries, and archives for more than two years. The only clue was a historic copperplate by the artist Elias Back. Entitled „Praise and Glory for the Laudable Bakery Trade“, the engraving shows a scene of the amusement camp in Zeithain (Zeithainer Lustlager). One detail of the copperplate shows an angel who carries a cloth with the depiction of the Grand Stollen Knife and facts of measurement.
In cooperation with craftsmen from Saxony and Solingen, Mutscheller replicated the Grand Stollen Knife according to historic descriptions. On the occasion of the 1st Dresden Stollen Festival in December 1994, it has been presented to the public for the first time.
Since 1994 normal-size replicas (35 cm) of the historic Grand Knife have been made. The renowned cutlery manufacture Koch & Bergfeld in Bremen is licensed to produce and distribute them. They manufacture three different versions of the knife. The original Dresden Stollen Knives are available in 925-sterling silver, silver-plated (90 g) and with a porcelain handle made in the Dresden Porcelain Manufacture Freital. The prices are between 127.00 and 203.00 Euro. Furthermore, the Arms of August the Strong are engraved on the highly ornamented blades. Koch & Bergfeld (www.koch-bergfeld.de) delivers the knives in solid wooden boxes and, on request, with a characteristic stollen platter made of beechwood. Additionally, the Dresden Stollen Knives are available in leading specialist stores all over Germany, in the branches of the jeweller Georg Leicht, for example in the Kempinski Hotel Taschenbergpalais Dresden (www.juwelier-leicht.de) and in the pastry shop Kreutzkamm at the Altmarkt (www.kreutzkamm.de).
In the meantime, the Dresden Stollen Knife has become a unique souvenir and a very special Christmas present. It belongs to the authentic Dresden Stollen as does the Stollen Festival.