Wednesday, December 8, 2010
I might have found another favorite spot in the city.
It's been such a cold stretch, and I have had a sick child home with me the last few days. Now that he is back in school, I had a bunch of errands I needed to do out and about.
Before I headed out the door, I made a note to myself that a stop at this (infamous) little hidden gem had to be on my itinerary.
The secret about this tiny German bakery is no longer, especially if you have seen the article in the new Winter issue of Edible Columbus. Surprisingly, however, many people still don't know about it. Take the two people I asked for directions at Katzinger's who looked at me like I had three heads.
No matter, I put in the address into my GPS and a few minutes later, I was parked in front of a well signed and decorated, yet unassuming, store front: Bierberg Bakery.
An older German lady greeted me. She had a thick accent still, even though she and her husband moved here since the 60s. As I entered and regained my senses from the freezing cold temperatures (really Columbus, why so cold?!), I started to take in all the scents and smells of all the cookies that laid before me.
I did not count, but there must have been a few dozen different kinds of cookies. These special German cookies are only made here, in this tiny house, 3 months out of every year. Johanna, friend and baker, told me how busy they had been and will continue to be until the end of the year when she will again close up shop and retreat to her much deserved rest.
After I purchased some good-looking cookies, as well as a stollen, I asked if I could slip into the kitchen and watched them work a little.
Another lady in the kitchen, Cathy, is a family-friend. She helps out each year at the bakery. While Johanna and Cathy cut up more cookies to be baked, they recited to me their stories of how they ended up in Columbus (because you know, as a transplant myself, I am always interested!).
As it turns out, they were both sponsored to move to the States from Europe, Johanna from Germany and Cathy from Hungary. I listened with curiosity as Cathy told me the story about her family living in a castle in Germany where several other immigrant families took refuge. Their hands never stopped working, but they seemed to enjoy reliving their past with me as their audience.
As I turned around to say goodbye, they wished me well in discovering my new home city. I told them that I was happy to have met people like them because that is what matters the most. Johanna agreed with me, and then she added: It's also what you give back, too. That's also very important. Don't forget to give back."
She is absolutely right.
729 S 5th St.
They will be open until the end of the year.