The first time I came across a German Bakery was in Kasol. The cakes there tasted heavenly. Then, I came across another one in Manali! I thought they were a thing of the hills. However, when I saw a German Bakery in Rishikesh, Udaipur and Pushkar as well, I was intrigued. I had to know what was with the nomenclature. Did all bakery owners in the backpackers’ destinations of India meet and decide to name their shops German Bakery? Was it a food chain? What was the significance of the name? I just had to know!
So, after returning, I did some research upon the matter and finally, unsolved the mystery!
Turns out there indeed is a lot of History and Psychology behind the name!
Thanks to the 70’s movement and the Hippie Trail, we have a series of German bakeries in every backpackers’ destination of India to satisfy our Munchies!
Now, first things first..
What’s “German” about the German Bakeries?
IT all started when the hippie trail paved it’s way into India and Nepal. People loved these places for their exotic landscapes and the rich culture BUT they were homesick for food. They just couldn’t get the right bread! And, bread to them was a staple diet!
Now, at this point in the timeline enters Klaus Goodzet. He was working for a German N.G.O.- “Norman Foundation”. He was assisted by Ram Gopal Karkee and together they taught the local people of Nepal how to bake brown bread and other such western food products that the tourists craved for!
Consequently, the first German Bakery named “Pumpernickel German Bakery” (after the famous German country bread of the same name) opened up in Kathmandu. This was followed by “Woody’s Pumpernickel” in Patan.
Young Goodzet had finally found a means to travel longer, the locals of Nepal learnt the skill that they needed to benefit from the tourism boost of the 70’s and the Tourists got the food they longed for! The emergence of the German Bakeries made South Asia a perfect stop in the Hippie Trail!
German Bakery comes to India!
After setting up a total of three bakeries for the N.G.O. in Nepal, the duo moved to India to open one of their own. Now, guess where Mr. Goodzet and Mr. Karkee landed in India? Anjuna – The Hippie Hotspot of India, of course! There they became very popular with tourists as the “little bakery that served healthy food”, and hence, came up India’s first German Bakery.
Soon, the word spread and reached Pune. The people from Osho Ashram began ordering bread from them and then, ultimately invited them to set up a bakery in Pune. And, that is how the second German bakery of India came up in Koregaon park, Pune!
What’s In A Name? Apparently, A Lot!
Klaus Goodzet never patented the name and hence, many German Bakeries popped up all over India. And, no, in most of these bakeries you will not find Sauerkraut, Schnitzels or any other German dishes (except for occasional Apple Strudels).
They are named so owing to success of the two “Parent” German Bakeries in India. Over the years, the German bakeries became something that travellers started trusting and relating to the quality and success of their Namesake! The title became synonymous with the place that had the “Food of the West”..
So, Are They Worth The Hype?
Yes, most of them are! Though all the German Bakeries might not be franchises of the “Parent” ones but there is something about them that they cannot be overlooked! They have amazing pies and most of them have a wide range of salads.
You get really decent western food in these bakeries. Their menu makes travelling easier for those with alternative dietary habits! Moreover, with Vegan lifestyle coming to prominence, the German bakeries are gaining huge popularity owing to their wide range of vegan and gluten free options.
However, it is not all about food! They are a cool hangout spot for the peace loving people to meet and have a nice chat over fresh salads and delicious pies!…..
Some Signature Dishes You Do Not Want To Miss Out On…..
The German Bakery in Kasol– New York Cheesecake, Chocolate Banana Cake, Lemon Cake and American Brownie.
The Pumpernickel German Bakery in Rishikesh– You MUST try the Chocolate Reese’s balls there!! They are delicious! On one fine day, I had three of them (And, I am not guilty! I wish I had brought some back with me!!). Also, You must try the Tofu-Fried Eggplant salad and the Avocado salad there (popular with the Vegans). Lasagnas are pretty good there as well.
The German Bakery at Koregaon Park, Pune- This particular parent German Bakery was in news because of the unfortunate and tragic incident of 13 February 2010. On the very next day, in contrast to the speculations, there was an increase in the number of people that visited German Bakeries all around India. It was to showcase utter detestation towards terrorism and solidarity for the victims.
The Bakery reopened about three years and three months later. It continues to be a place where people hangout and spend time trying the delicious dishes.