Kaffee und Kuchen at Café Decker in Staufen, Germany

A stack of Fruchttortes at Café Decker, Staufen

Last weekend we nipped across the Rhine to give our friends from Beaujolais a little taste of the Black Forest. After an impressive lunch at the Kreuz-Post in Staufen (it’s going into Eating Out in Alsace, Basel and Baden sharpish) followed by a quick raid on the Christmas market and a visit to the Schladerer distillery for Himbeergeist miniatures for stockings, we took refuge from the Faustian blast in Café Decker. This, as you surely know, is one of the Schwarzwald’s finest shrines to Kaffee und Kuchen, and it was full to bursting with happy families feasting on mile-high cakes and steaming mugs of hot choccy and coffee with whipped cream.

There’s a dazzling display of amazing cakes, pralines, Christmas cookies and baked goods of every shape and size, all made downstairs in the laboratory-kitchen. Herr Decker, silver-haired and sprightly (he can’t ever eat any of those cakes, can he?), moves around at speed, checking on orders, refurbishing vitrines and greeting faithful customers. You find a table – easier said than done: sharp elbows and eyes are needed – then you settle down and place your order for drinks with a buxom lady. Then you sally forth to the counter at the front where you are faced with an impossible task: choosing between Sachertorte, Quarktorte, Schwarzwalderkirschtorte, Fruchttorte, Linzertorte and about 16 other tortes whose names escape me.

The euro may be shaky, the economy limping along and the weather shocking but it’s somehow deeply reassuring to find that the great German tradition of Kaffee und Kuchen is alive and well and living in Staufen (and scores of other towns throughout Germany).

Café Decker's Christmas Gingerbread House

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