The Bergisch Coffee Table (Bergische Kaffeetafel) is a traditional meal, somewhere between a brunch and an afternoon tea. And: it is very local. You typically find it only in the Bergisches Land, the region Northeast of Cologne (named after the former Duchy of Berg and not because the area is very hilly = bergig), especially in the core area between Wuppertal, Remscheid, Leverkusen and Solingen. I absolutely love to have a Bergische Kaffeetafel from time to time – and felt to introduce you to this local culture.
The Bergisch Coffee Table – The Meal
The Bergisch Coffee Table is a traditional order of courses, to which you – obviously – drink coffee. Some places still offer you the Dröppelminna, a traditional coffee pot. It is hard to define a “fixed” order of meals. However, most of the sources I read suggest to start with a Hefeblatz, a traditional sweet bread, typically eaten with rice pudding or similar sweet condiments. From sweet bread dishes, you typically move to savory dishes, served on rustic and granary bread. Typically, you have cheese, ham, sometimes also liver sausage / white pudding or similar traditional food. Another dish which is definitely part of a Bergisch Coffee Table is the Bergisch Waffle, which is very often eaten with hot cherries and/or whipped cream. Other dishes depend on the place you are having it. Below, for example, you see a traditional sweet pretzel. Other places also go for cake, rusk or scrambled eggs.
Here is a Bergische Kaffeetafel as served on a different place. You see that it is overall rather similar. On one of the pictures, you also see a very traditional condiment, Rübenkraut (sugar beet syrup). If you really manage to finish all this (the coffee table is regarded to be a celebratory meal), many places suggest to close with a digestiv like a corn schnapps.
The Bergisch Coffee Table – Two Locations
In general, there are a lot of locations in the region which offer the Bergische Kaffeetafel. However, most of them require a certain size of your party – typically four, sometimes even up to ten people. In addition, quite a lot of restaurants require you to book in advance. I am not fully sure about the rationale – likely, because of the fact that some ingredients are not used in other parts of the menu. The traditional waffle, however, may be found in a lot of restaurants of the region. The places featured in this posting offer the tradition as walk-in.
In the map above, I marked the two places my wife and visited to get the pictures above. The first place is the Waffelhaus in Schloss Burg, a place I introduced you to in this posting. The place is very touristic, the cafe’s signature dish are waffles with different doughs and toppings. The second set of pictures (of the coffee table as well as below) are taken from the beautiful Gaststätte Rüdenstein in Solingen-Oberrüden, right at the River Wupper. Both places are popular among tourists and day-trippers, but the Rüdenstein also feels to have a very faithful regular clientele.
At the time of writing, the coffee table at Schloss Burg is 14.50 EUR, while at Rüdenstein it is 18.90 EUR. However, Rüdenstein is refilling coffee and even bread and condiments, so that I liked that place a bit more.
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