Thursday, 23 April 2009

The big bread debate

I like my bread, I do, but I don't think it is possible to like bread as much as the Germans do: they are manically, motherflippin, crazy about the stuff.
And so, in order to fully integrate into this culture one must learn the "Bakery Code" - which ones are the good ones and which ones are to be shunned.


At the bottom of the pile is of course "Kamps" - bleaurgh - closely followed by "Billy Bäck" - that's the German theory anyway - I happen to think that Kamps croisants are to die for and the pretzels at Billy-bäck are my kids favorites.

In the middle stream we have the Wolff's Bio Back, Schmitz-Nittenwilm's and Kraus's of the city, and at the top of this pile sits Merzenich - who come up top because they actually have live footage of their bread being made on screens around the shop - their bread is very good though - no doubt at all.

The numero uno's however - are a class apart - the two I heard were the absolute best were Bäckerei Balkhausen on Apostelnstrasse, and Zimmermann Bäckerei on Ehrenstrasse: famous, established for years, top class, quality, great service and fantastic bread (plus secret recipes).

I thought I'd found a new addition to this top class gang - Bastian's on Auf dem Berlich (behind Friesenplatz). It looks great - the staff even seem to have dough on their fingers from having whipped up a quick loaf before serving you. It reminds me of a French Boulangerie, beautifully presented bread, stark white walls, blackboards, baskets, white apronned staff and lovely tables and chairs in the cafe. But when I told a German friend about my find she hissed "But don't you know? It's owned by Sebastian KAMP! They probably use the same stock, just deliver it in the middle of the night so no-one sees!".

I didn't believe such a fine establishment could be connected to Kamps so I checked it out on the web and after a lot of digging finally found out she was right. It's not very easy to find info because obviously no high class baker wants to be associated with Kamps - and if the information becomes common knowledge the public will be ignoring it in droves!

It's still top of my list though - I like bread - but this bakery on every corner business seems a little over the top (much like the Apotheke's.... but that's another story) - I like an old fashioned bakery and that's what Bastian's is - it's a little pricey for Cologne - but if you're gonna go all bread crazy, you may as well get the really good stuff.

Let the bread (bakery) debate begin!

Bastian´s, Auf dem Berlich 3-5, 50667 Cologne
www.bastians-baecker.de

Bäckerei Balkhausen, Apostelnstr. 27, 50667 Cologne
www.baeckerei-konditorei-balkhausen.de

Zimmermann Bäckerei, Ehrenstrasse 75, 50672 Cologne
www.spezibrot.de