It all began one day during a hike. One of my friends asked if our apartment had gone out for traditional cake and coffee yet, known as Kaffeekultur, and in answering her, I realized how foolish we had been by missing this afternoon delight for days. On the train ride home, my neighbors and I decided to right this obvious wrong.
As someone who typically only indulges in cake during birthday celebrations, allow me to say that Germans are doing it right. Everyone should have cake at midday. It is the perfect pick me up, and combined with rich German coffee, it is the only way to make the notion of homework at the library more enjoyable. In fact, my friends and I enjoyed this afternoon delight so much that it was our duty to figure out the best places to enjoy Kaffeekultur for future students abroad.
And so it began. Every day for our final weeks abroad, we went to a new coffee shop in Freiburg at precisely 3 pm. Everyone ordered a different slice of cake, and we would cut our slices up so that everyone could try each flavor. Although it started out as a few of us from one apartment, it quickly became popular with IES Abroad students across Freiburg. Everyone was determined to figure out the best shop for Kaffeekultur. It became so intense we even made an Excel Spreadsheet where we tracked affordability, selection, taste, and appearance.
It must be noted, however, that although the cake slices change daily in shops in Freiburg, there will almost always be one cake that is hard to pass on. Located in the Black Forest, Freiburg is known for its delicious Black Forest cake, Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, which is a German chocolate cake with a cherry filling. If you go to Freiburg for any reason at all, you MUST try this cake. I’m not particularly fond of cherry-filled desserts, but this cake won me over. Lots of the coffee shops in Freiburg even have variations of the cake, such as having the cherries on top, and they’re all delicious.
Although we didn’t make it to every coffee shop in Freiburg, we came pretty close. In the end, all of the coffee shops were ranked pretty highly, as it turns out it’s impossible to have bad or even mediocre cake in Freiburg. However, our favorites ultimately were Cafe Schmidt and Confiserie Gmeiner. Cafe Schmidt always had an abundance of reasonably priced cakes, and not only were they decorated with adorable Cafe Schmidt chocolate, but they were affordable and delicious. Confiserie Gmeiner was a bit more expensive, but it offered a glass wall in the dining room where you could overlook downtown Freiburg and reminisce about the good times you had in this humble city.
All the pastries in Freiburg are delicious, but something about midday cake and coffee makes every day better. My friends and I have one message for students studying abroad in Freiburg: Eat all the cake you can.
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<p>Originally from rural Pennsylvania, I'm currently a third-year at Emory University studying Environmental Sciences and minoring in Sustainability. I'm really excited to spend a semester in Germany's sunniest and most sustainable city! Hiking and camping have always been passions of mine, so I'm ready to go explore Europe!</p>