All original content © 2011-2014. Photos and Text, unless otherwise stated, are by the author of Pork Bier Belly. If you want to use images or writing, please ask for permission prior to using.

Thursday, March 28

Supporting private businesses for everyone's good

Shopping for food is an experience here, an enjoyable one at that. I especially like that there’s a butcher shop with a variety of meats, a bread bakery/shop with many types of (German) breads and a farmer that sells eggs and poultry.

As you can guess, the butcher shops have a lot of pork products but there are few other things as well. I’ve been going to one in the city. It’s in the ubahn station to which my friend jokingly asked “who doesn’t want to get meat upon exiting the train?" Laugh it up but it’s very convenient. They have all the pork and beef cuts and some poultry. If they don't have something, they will order it for the customer. They have some lamb however it’s pricey so I get that at the Turkish market. For reasons unknown to me, lamb imported from Greece (sold at the Turkish market) is cheaper than lamb at a German butcher shop. I also haven’t figured out all the different types of fresh & dried wursts (sausages) and deli meats. However we have been trying some at random, most have been good. One thing we haven't grown to like is Sülze (headcheese). Not only is it odd looking (meat pressed in a terrine with aspic), it tastes strange.

They have a hot counter with freshly cooked food for the lunch crowd on the go. The food ranges from sausages to wings to stews served with rice or potatoes. At this particular place the butchers know me and it’s pleasant going there.

I recently read an article that many butcher shops are gradually closing. There is a downward shift in the business in Germany. One reason is the demand for trained professionals in these fields is decreasing. The younger generation is buying meats at large boxed supermarkets and therefore don’t need to go to butcher shops. That’s unfortunate because the personalized service is rare. And, it would be a shame to lose highly skilled individuals that are a wealth of information in their line of work. I’d like to think I know my way around a pig, but that's not the case; I prefer to leave that to a German butcher that’s studied years on the subject.

For bread I haven’t found a good source. I often went to one in the main city square. A woman that worked there was really helpful and even spoke some English for explanations. I later learned they’re part of a franchise so now I only go there when in a pinch.

Then I tried another bread bakery, also in the city square; one I had heard good things about from a local. From the inside, it looks like it has been around a long time and has been in the same family for multiple generations.

But both times I’ve left feeling out of place or cheated. First time, they weren’t very helpful. A note on German bread- there are many varieties and unless you’re familiar with the types you have to ask questions. For example, there’s 100% rye bread, another that’s 60% rye with whole wheat flour, one with just whole grains and etc. During the first visit, I bought my bread, exchanged money, took some photos and left. I noticed they were friendlier with locals with fluent German.

At the second visit I asked for a price of the baguette, 1.30, then requested to buy a half loaf. When I bought the half I paid 0.90. Although I was confused I didn’t question it before handing over my money. My own fault. Once I got my change back, I asked why the price of the half wasn’t half of the whole price? They were disgruntled in answering the question. I suspect the woman that quoted me the price for the whole baguette was incorrect. However a clear explanation of the mistake would’ve been much friendlier than, “this is the price!”

I will say when I asked to photograph, they permitted. The older owner even joked he’d charge me 1 Euro for photos. Unfortunately due to other reasons I won’t be returning.

I buy my poultry from a family that comes to the farmer’s market Fridays & Saturdays. They sell eggs, chicken, turkey, duck and other bird creatures. During Christmas, they sell whole Geese. And around Easter they sell boiled, colored eggs.

It's a make shift tent they assemble each Friday & Saturday.

I've been going to them for eggs and poultry(sometimes) since moving here so they know me well. I forgot my wallet today and the mother gave me my eggs for free and asked me to come back later with the money. And I got two Easter eggs! That's friendly! They also sell egg noodles that I am not sure are homemade or bought from another producer.
Note- German vendors (and supermarkets) store their eggs at room temperature. I did not freak out at the sight of this, unlike some I know. Eggs are laid in room temperature environment so it's not insane to leave them on the counter. For longer shelf life however refrigerating is the way to go.


  1. Friendly storekeepers/owners are the best! This is why I miss the places I used to frequent in Cincy... Findlay Market, Essencha, etc... it's nice when they remember you.

    1. Yes, yes, yes! Have you tried one of the green markets near you in Cleveland?

  2. About the room temperature eggs:
    "Why American Eggs Would Be Illegal In A British Supermarket, And Vice Versa"

    1. Thanks for this link Anonymous. Good to have the specifics on why eggs are stored at room temperature in the EU. (It makes the most sense to me.)