Expat Quest Cologne – Part 1: The Search For More Than Coffee and Cake

It’s over 5 years since I became an Expat in Germany after moving to Cologne from the UK.  One thing we have grown to love about German culture is that short break between lunch and dinner where people meet up for coffee and cake, or “Kaffee und Kuchen” as it’s known.  It’s become a regular feature of our lives, there’s no better way to cheer yourself up on a wet Sunday afternoon.  With lots of people raving about Denmark and their Hygge, the concept of “Kaffee und Kuchen” is the closest thing that Germany probably gets to this Danish feeling of cosiness.

Learning to enjoy “Kaffee und Kuchen” is a key part of being an Expat in Germany.  It’s up there with drinking Sprudelwasser/Apfelschorle, wearing your Hausschuhe and obeying the Ampel-Manchen as one of the top ways to Germanise yourself.  Sadly what this means is that if you want to visit a cafe between Breakfast and Dinner, the choice is often limited to just “Kaffee und Kuchen”.  The first step in my Expat Quest series was to find an independent cafe where we could have something else to eat for a change.  What better time to start this blog series than on German Reunification Day or Tag der Deutschen Einheit, which is celebrated on 3 October every year. Thanks to the lovely people at Cafe Parl*or in Dellbrück on the outskirts of Cologne we finally succeeded in this first stage of the Quest.

Introducing Cafe Parl*or – For Kaffee und Kuchen

Firstly you are perhaps confused why I refer to this lovely place as Cafe Parl*or and not Cafe Parlor or even Cafe Parlour.  It isn’t a typo, the term Parl*or is an integration of three different phrases from English and French to bring together something meaningful in German.  A great expat mixture as perfect as their food.  The 3 words are:

  • Parlour (English) – referring to a room in a house for sitting and entertaining guests.
  • Parler (French) – the verb to speak.
  • Or (French) – the word for gold.

When you bring these together in German, the Parl*or helps to lure you into their cafe’s wonderful parlour setting where they encourage people come together to share memorable (or golden) conversations.  It really is about the people as well as the food and drinks.  The place is full of some great little curios and is a great place to sit with friends, chat, relax and enjoy some amazing “Kaffee und Kuchen”, an example of which is below just to make your mouth water.

Kuchen for Exapts
Kuchen to die for

So Much More – From Quiche to Soup and Even Cheese Evenings

As well being a great independent Cafe, the one thing that really stood out about Cafe Parl*or was that they offered so much more than the normal Kaffee und Kuchen (note, the cessation of the quotation marks as it was getting a little boring).  Normally, if you are very lucky a German Cafe might offer various forms of Scrambled Eggs and possibly also a Flammkuchen (thin Pizza/ Pancake).  Here at Cafe Parl*or the choice of other dishes was a wonderful surprise.  There were various homemade soups, the Potato and Cheese Soup was particularly awesome on a cold afternoon at the start of Autumn.  There were also salads and some of the most amazing Quiche’s I have had in a long, long time.  The beetroot quiche was a real highlight and just to make your mouth water a little, here is a lovely photo of a quiche just to prove that they are both home made and look amazing.

Expat Quiche
Cafe Parlor’s Lovely Homemade Quiche

As well as it’s everyday food, they also have lots of special events.  They are particularly famous for their monthly cheese raclette evenings, which is designed to add to the community feel of the cafe and help their customers feel cosy as the winter draws in.  Find out more about their various events here.

Supporting Local Producers

The Cafe is owned by Anja Winkler.  Her wonderful staff are an important part of the cafe family and their Facebook page is full of stories about their various staff members who range from students to experienced bakers and cooks.  As I have been finding out since I started this blog, Cafe Parl*or is like most independent cafes in that they are keen supporters of local producers.

Cafe Team
Anja and some of the Cafe Team

Their coffee – the Dellbrücker melange is specifically roasted by Schamong, the oldest coffee roasting company in Cologne.  It is a well-balanced mixture of Arabica and Robusta beans.  Their fresh produce comes from local suppliers and markets in Dellbrück itself.  Everything else they source from like-minded local, sustainable and small companies.  Some of the pastry for their speciality cakes comes from Brehmer’s in Merheim, the water is from Cologne, the lemonade from Deutz and the eggs from Wipperfurth.

Cafe Parl*or is a great example of how supporting local, independent cafes has a much wider effect on the local community.  If you take a visit, make sure you save some time to wander along the Dellbrück Hauptstrasse (Main St) where there are lots of local shops and businesses who would very much appreciate you helping to support their community.  If you can’t get to Cologne and check out Cafe Parl*or, explore your own town or places you visit to support similar local cafes.

Read more about the history of “Kaffee und Kuchen” on Rory Maclean’s blog for the Goethe Institute here.

Find out more about Cafe Parlour on their website here.

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