My Heidelberg: 1st sweet taste at Café Gundel
In 2001, I moved across the big Atlantic pond from Canada to Germany. Knowing only “bitte” (please) and “danke” (thank you), I flew sight unseen to Frankfurt am Main, followed by a shuttle-bus to the German university town of Heidelberg. I would live and work in Heidelberg for two years, and I couldn’t have known the experience would change my life.
Heidelberg is a favourite “hometown” which includes many memories of firsts.
1st Time in DE, 1st Time in HD
An early memory is a stroll down Heidelberg’s Hauptstrasse (“main street”). I spend a long afternoon up and down streets, through small cobbled alleys, learning locations of stores and services, and getting an immediate lay of the town.
At the eastern end of the Altstadt (Old Town), I step into an attractive and brightly lit Café Gundel and sit down at one of the tables. My eyes are bigger than my stomach. I decide to do the sensible thing, and order the first reasonable thing that comes to mind: Apfelstrudel and a latté macchiato.
It’s relatively quiet in the café, and I’m quickly served “coffee and cake”. The strudel has large chunks of apples, surrounded by very light flaky pastry and topped with a fine dusting of powdered sugar. The cake isn’t too tart or sweet, and there’s a generous mouthful of cinnamon and nutmeg. Did I also mention there’s fresh whipping cream (Schlagsahne) on the side? That’s not spray-on stuff from a can, which, as I learned later for this nation and its culinary demands, is sacrilege of the highest order.
I walk up to the counter to pay and I express my gratitude. With hand gestures and attempted English, I ask to buy an additional selection of cookies, small cakes, and sweets. I’m sure the lady behind the counter thinks I’ve completely lost my mind. In broken English, she tells me there’ll be more tomorrow, and plenty more the day after that.
This memory has served as an introduction to both Heidelberg and Germany, and has stayed with me over the years. I’ve returned many times to Heidelberg since leaving in 2003, but I’ve returned to Gundel only twice.
Guess it’s time to go back “home”, back to Gundel, and make some new memories …
Café Gundel is both Konditorei (pastry shop) and Bäckerei (bake shop) with a wide assortment of sweet pastries and hearty breads. The main and larger Gundel is located at the eastern end of the Hauptstrasse at Karlsplatz (Charles Square). The smaller version, Der kleine Gundel (the little Gundel), is located at Universitätsplatz (University Square).
You can easily walk the mile-long Hauptstrasse, or you can take public transport into the Altstadt (Old Town). Upon arrival at the eastern end of Hauptstrasse, press your nose up against the café window, and look and drool at all the baked goods on display. When you’ve worked up an appetite, head inside, and enjoy your “Kaffee und Kuchen” (cake and coffee), or get your pastries for takeaway.
This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-4o4.
10 Responses to “My Heidelberg: 1st sweet taste at Café Gundel”
After reading this, I’m not sure the toast I was planning to have for breakfast today is going to cut it. I want apple strudel!
Hi, Suzanne! I’d really like some real homemade Apfelstrudel from Germany, right about now, with real whipped cream on the side. So yes, I totally get your desire for some strudel, too! Thanks for your reading and for your comment!
You left my mouth watering! Sounds yummy!
Hi, Irene. The Germans (as well as the Swiss and Austrians) know their pastries, and I’m glad I could elicit feelings of hunger after my little trip down cobblestoned memory-lane. 🙂 Have you visited Heidelberg and/or Germany? Thanks for reading and for your comment!
I love your post! I went to Heidelberg with my brother just before Christmas in 2007 and we went to a cafe on the main street. Same one? I don’t know, but we did enjoy it quite a bit. Thank you for the trip down memory lane. 🙂
Hi and you’re welcome, Erin! The great thing about the Main Street (Hauptstrasse) in a German town of any size is the number of cafes up and down the street. There should be no shortage of good tasties to go with tea or coffee! Thank you for reading and for your kind comment!
I love when apfelstrudel is served warm and with some vanilla ice cream. It’s kind of like having warm apple pie with ice cream in the US. Yummy!
Hi, Jennifer & Tim. Just looking at the words “warm apfelstrudel with vanilla ice cream” makes me hungry. I wish they had little shakers of cinnamon and nutmeg on the table, too. And how about an extra dollop of fresh whipped cream (Schlagsahne)? Awww yeah! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment!
Henry, more travel temptation – but it made me realize that I haven’t been back to Heidelberg for nearly two years. I used to live just down the street from the Café Gundel, and have a capture of my dog, Gigi, standing over the cobblestone pretzel that adorns the café’s sidewalk. I think she was more impressed by what was in the café’s storefront. 🙂
HI, Tricia. Going past the Gundel (or any Konditorei), I’m far more amused by the bipeds pressing their noses against the windows, while their faithful fuzzy quadruped companions are yanking on the chain: “are we done yet?!” 😉 It’s time you head back to Heidelberg no? 😉 Thanks for reading and for your comment!