A SLICE OF HAMBURG LIFE
THE CITY’S ‘KAFFEE UND KUCHEN’ CULTURE IS THE SWEETEST TREAT
The citizens of Hamburg have got it right. They live in a fabulous city that is elegant and edgy in equal measure. They are open-hearted, kind and effortlessly cosmopolitan. And, importantly, they love cake.
Here, the German ritual of kaffee und kuchen (coffee and cake) is a serious affair. Like afternoon tea, this bridge between lunch and dinner is taken at around 4pm. However, forget genteel cucumber triangles and petits fours. Your robust brew comes with a calorie-busting slab of sugary goodness and a fork to get stuck in.
There is a social spin to this tradition. It’s an opportunity to gossip (kaffeeklatsch being German for ‘an informal social gathering for coffee and conversation’), and cafés across the city buzz as groups, from stylish elders to trendy students, hit their favourite haunts to swap stories and bites of erdbeertorte (strawberry tart), schokoladenkuchen (chocolate cake) and käsekuchen (cheesecake), like this fruity beauty at Harbor Cake in hip Marktstrasse.
The quality of the bakes is more than matched by the calibre of the coffee. Hamburg is also famous for its speciality coffee houses and artisan roasteries, among them the renowned Elbgold in Schanze district. Here, like elsewhere, your kaffee und kuchen is served Hamburg-style – with charm, pride and a friendly smile.
Cruises to Hamburg have plenty to offer. The city's two Alster lakes, hundreds of canals and spacious parks, the grandeur of its church steeples and great City Hall belfry, its sense of energy and confidence - all contribute to the subtle appeal of the imposing city.