Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Pretzel A Day - Or Memories Last A Lifetime

Sometimes I'll hear a song that'll take me back to some moment in time. For example and for some reason, the Don Henley song Boys Of Summer, which I've never been a huge fan of, reminds me of driving down an empty Interstate 95 in Center City Philadelphia late one night. I'm not even sure if the memory is a real one or not but the song puts me right back there. Other times, something like a smell or flavor will have that effect but I can never really know when it'll happen because it's so random.

I recently had a "smell flashback" happen here in Stuttgart. I was walking back to the metro from my German class and I passed by a small kiosk that sells pretzels and other pretzel-dough-based items. The moist, "doughy" smell of the fresh-baked pretzels put me right back in the hallway of school when I was in fourth grade. Growing up in Philadelphia, soft pretzels were a daily "cookies-and-milk" type of snack when we were in school. The flashback that I have, which (again) I'm not sure really happened, is of me walking down the hall right after the large shopping-style paper bags of pretzels had been delivered to the classrooms but were still hanging on the doors outside the classrooms.

In case you don't know, the area around Philadelphia and especially out in Lancaster County is the pretzel capital of the United States. The specialty is the Philadelphia soft pretzel that usually looks something like this:

Well, in another "The World Is A Very Small Place" series, I get to eat fresh pretzels every day (if I want) here in Stuttgart! The pretzel originated, it is believed, somewhere in the area around southern Germany and/or nearby Austria, which just so happens to be where I'm living! The pretzels here are different than the ones where I grew up and tend to look something like this one that I bought a while ago in the Frankfurt airport (note my mobile phone on the right for relative size):

Back when we first arrived here, I was out looking for apartments near the center of the city and came across this bakery, which has a sign out front with a large pretzel on it:

I thought, "oh my god, I've found pretzel heaven!" but it turns out that the pretzel is a symbol for a certain type of bakery in this area. Here's another with a similar sign:

Anyway, as I've been sampling the local delicacy, I snapped some pictures so that I could share my pretzel-a-day habit with you. Well, actually, I started out with a pretzel (or three) per day when we got here but I've cut back to maybe one per week now to try to maintain my "girlish figure". The photos are in no particular order starting with this one, a Laugen Bretzel (bretzel is German for pretzel):

The typical pretzel here has the above shape and tend to be pretty big. Thin and crunchy towards the center and fat and more bread-like at the bottom. They're not as moist as what I grew up with but they're still yummy. The next one is the size of a large dinner roll and is called a Laugenbrötchen (basically "pretzel roll" in German):

I may have already polished off a couple of sandwiches on those rolls... The next one is called a Laugenhörnchen (pretzel horn roll), which I had at a restaurant near the University of Stuttgart:

One of my favorites so far was this croissant-style sandwich roll, called a Laugencroissant (yep, pretzel croissant), which seemed to be made from a combination of pretzel and croissant dough. Can you say yum?

This one has an even longer name, Laugenmohnstange. It's the most like an actual bread of all the pretzels that I've had so far so much so that it's even covered with poppy seeds:

It's been a treat to eat such a large variety of pretzels. I love it! While writing this story, I came across a pretzel festival that takes place once a year not too far from here. I added it to my calender! Woohoo! PretzelFest!

Lastly, I tend to travel fairly light but I do have my limits. My guilty pleasure is bringing food back from Trader Joe's each time I go to the U.S. My luggage is always packed to the maximum-allowed weight with peanut butter and other stuff like these peanut-butter-filled and chocolate-covered pretzel bites that they sell at Trader Joe's:

The picture doesn't do them justice but just know that they're worth lugging one-third the way around the world...

One last note, Diana, our roommate Berat, and I went food shopping last night at the "big" supermarket -- the one that has large-sized packages and lots of foreign food items. Diana and Berat each, independently, picked up some Snyder's Of Hanover Flavored-Pretzel Pieces. Yep, they bought made-not-far-from-Philadelphia pretzels at a supermarket in the home of the pretzel. Too funny. Actually, I think I'll go see what type of flashback they give me...


  1. Yum! Awesome food blog today! :D I love those Laugenbrötchen. I'm sure we've had some with our breakfasts at the hotels. I'm still trying to do low carb too.

    1. Thanks Victoria! I'm starting to think that low-carb would be tough here yet people stay surprisingly thin considering every other person on the street is eating some sort of bread out of a bag...


All comments are reviewed prior to being posted.