Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday Morning: Schlangestehen vor der Kleinen Konditorei

Kicking and screaming, Ingo and I have been forced against our will to become morning people over the last 11 and a half months. Painful as it may be, I have developed a Sunday morning routine that is evidence that I am not the only obscenely early riser on what should be a day of rest.

Die Kleine Konditorei is a bakery around the corner and a block away from our apartment. Having been consistently awarded accolades as one of the best bakeries in Germany, coupled with the fact that it is one of the few patisseries open on a Sunday when everything is closed except for restaurants and cafés, the "Kondi", as we have affectionately dubbed it, is a goldmine. The line on any given Sunday morning stretches to the corner where it then snakes around and continues another 10-50 meters – depending on what time you arrive. On the Kondi’s website there is a FAQ section where the first question asked is, „Why is the line so long on Sunday mornings?“ Clicking on this querry mysteriously leads the curious nowhere – apparently there are no answers to this frequently asked question.

The Kondi’s stock went up in our house when I was still nursing the twins. Having slowly removed the breast from their diet over the course of the last few weeks, I’ve found my insane craving for sweets has significantly diminished. Sunday mornings used to find blue and white striped bags strewn across the table full of the family favorite, nuss nougat croissants – deliciously buttery and flakey croissants (especially for German standards croissants are usually disappointingly dry and cakey) filled with nougat or nutella. Sick and wrong. Add a few nuss brioches, sticky buns chock full of raisins and haselnuts and covered with honey glaze, or a few franzbrotchen, cinnamon swirled pastries with raisins or chocolate stuck in its folds. And if my sugar craving still wasn’t satisified, I might add a few slices of what makes the Kondi famous – kuchen, i.e. cake. The signature slice is the raspberry créme fraiche and it is insane. Germans typically do cake at tea time, around 4pm, or even for breakfast but definitely not for dessert. Wunderbar!

As the sweet tooth starts to abate, I still make my regurlar pilgrimage to the schlange or queue, on Sunday mornings, waiting with paper cup full of coffee in hand which they have graciously left outside in a dispenser to make the wait a little more pleasant – this time stocking up on one of their dense dark breads – a three-corn nut bread with haselnuts, a whole-wheat carrot bread or the quinoa spelt bread, and maybe an herb ciabatta or baguette to boot.

I then schlep it all home and bribe the kids with a small chunk of warm baguette which buys me a few minutes to peruse the paper. In my former life (read pre-baby), coffee, bagels and the Sunday paper was a weekly ritual that lasted all morning, sometimes into the afternoon. Now, I’ll settle for a nougat croissant over a glance at the headlines, a few minutes too long in the op-eds, and the styled out rhymes of Dr. Suess.

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