Schneeballen or Snowballs Have Been a Rothenburg Tradition Since the Middle Ages:
While running around Rothenburg taking snaps, I was stopped in by tracks by snowballs. No, it wasn’t winter and neither was there a freak snowstorm, but the snowballs that caused me to stop were the neat rows of delicious-looking Schneeballen, a Rothenburg speciality.
I initially thought that the snowball-size schneeball was a Rothenburg version of the muffin, but on closer look, the texture is different. I later find out that the wavy texture of the dessert is created from strips of short-crust pastry that are alternately folded over a stick to form a loose ball. This is then deep-fried and dusted with confectioner’s sugar. Apart from this traditional version of schneeball, there are many different flavours ranging from nut and chocolate-glazed, some filled with nougat or amaretto marzipan and some with liqueur-infused fillings.
A Rothenburg Tradition
Schneeballen can be found in pastry shops in some Bavarian towns, but it is especially popular in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. It is believed that the schneeball originated in Rothenburg and the city’s schneeball tradition goes back to the middle ages. In the past, they were served on special occasions, such as weddings, but these days you can find them all year round. These schneeballen that I stopped to look at are from the Diller family bakery who have been selling Schneeballentraume (snowball dreams) for decades. They have a few shops in Rothenburg as well as shops in Heidelberg, Wernigerode and Constance.
Scheeballen are best eaten fresh, but they are said to have a shelf-life of about eight weeks. They are sold in gift boxes and are popular souvenirs from Rothenburg.
Whilst loving my pastries, I exercised some restraint on this occasion as a calorie-loaded pastry so early in the morning is a recipe for disaster. But now that I know what a schneeball is, it’s definitely on my “to eat list” on my next trip to Rothenburg.