Every summer, as a child, we would travel to Harrison Hot Springs in Canada for my grandmother’s birthday weekend. This trip always involved a jaunt to a fantastical bakery straight out of my childhood nursery rhyme book. A warm, red-cheeked German woman with a hand-crocheted hair net always greeted us with a gingerbread cookie and a pinch on the cheek. We were there to pick up our grandmother’s favorite birthday treat, a beautiful, layered black forest cake. The fluffy light frosting was always deceptive because it cloaked a richness that was almost overwhelming for my young palette.
This week, in honor of my grandmother and her worldly elegance, we went in search of the finest black forest cake in the Schwartzwald Region. After scouring Lenzkirch, Todnauer, Titisee-Neustadt, Saint Blasien, and Triberg we found the slice of heaven at the 550-year-old Cafe Schmidt (current location for 103 years) in the bustling university town of Freiburg.
With each bite I could hear my grandmother’s voice saying, “stay as sweet as you are,” which she would often say after goodbye or at the end of a letter. I am so grateful to her for teaching me that it is possible to have my cake and eat it too!