Bagels in Germany

Since moving to Germany, I’ve been missing one of my major comfort foods:  bagels. They are not as common here as they are in the U.S. And, considering you have to put safety gloves on to even attempt making them properly at home (due to the lye), it’s not something I’m going to try to replicate in my Küche.

A few weeks ago, Chris and I found ourselves stranded at the Baden-Baden train station looking for something to eat. Our choices: Generic German sandwiches or German sausages. We decided to pop into the coffee shop at the station just to see if they had anything.

As soon as I saw bagels decorating the walls, I said “sold!” And, I knew Chris would feel the same way. The coffee shop is a chain called Coffee Fellows, and I found out that they are in quite a few train stations around Germany.

Last week, on our way to Luxembourg, our train was delayed, which made us miss our bus in Saarbrücken. But, no worries: There was a Coffee Fellows at the station to give us our American coffee shop experience and hold us over for a while.

In Baden-Baden, we had ordered bagels with cream cheese, and they came with a tomato cream cheese, so I assumed this was normal.

I ordered alone my second time in Saarbrücken in German, and the barista asked me a follow-up question with a list of options. A few months ago, I would have had a look of horror on my face thinking, how am I going to get out of this one? However, now, I know to calmly ask, “Nochmal bitte?” (Again, please?)

He said the list again, and I heard “tomato,” “natural,” and many other words that I didn’t understand.

Ah, für cream cheese?” I asked. (“Cream cheese” was how they listed it on the menu.)
Ja,” he said.
Ok, natürlich,” I said hoping that meant “regular.” When I ate it, it sure tasted like regular so I think I will put this interaction into the “success” category.

German mishaps, I hope you are on the decline, and bagels, I will see you again soon!


6 responses to “Bagels in Germany

  1. Funny you should mention bagels! Our Sunday breakfast used to consist of bagels, however, the bagels that I can buy in Mexico are fluffy and sweet – they have nothing in common with regular bagels. So yes, I took it upon me to bake them myself which is bloody hard work…especially in this heat…especially without a dishwasher… Yikes. But the result is worth the effort. I make them in batches of 12 and freeze them, but boy, am I looking forward to some day moving back to bagel country…
    I remember that there is a chain called “Bagel Station” in Germany, they used to have a lot of shops about a decade ago. Apparently not anymore. But if you ever find yourself traveling to Goettingen, Hannover or Koeln (or Kuala Lumpur, as a matter of fact), you should try them. Check out the link:

  2. My husband likes to get iced coffee (American style, not German with ice cream in it) at Coffee Fellows (although Star Coffee has it, and bagels, too)! So the bagels were satisfactory? We just had some at Joe Molese on the Steingasse this weekend and were disappointed to discover they were flaky and broetchen-like, not bagel-y at all. Definitely questioning the American-ness of that place…

    • Yeah, I thought they were good. I got parmesan oregano. Chris just saw bagels in Star this week, so we’ll have to try them some time. Too bad about Joe Molese, but thanks for the tip of not trying bagels there!

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