What? For small local charm and a taste of the culture, come by the Brot Festival in Gillrath where a man fires up ovens in a 300ish old tiny brick house that he only fires up twice a year and cooks up some great loaves of bread. Bitburger beer will be sold (of course). This is a great opportunity to mix with the locals and experience small town Germany in a delicious way!
Directions: From the big yellow bus stop down from the Kreisparkasse, turn down that narrow road between the two fields, turn right at next road in front of the Teuven Keramic, then find a place to park. The festival will be held on the next street on your left, but there will be no parking there.
Look for: The historic “bake-house” looks like a small trailer sitting by an old farmhouse surrounded by fields of shaggy haired cows. The street is VERY narrow, so there will be NO parking there.
For GPS folks: Put in Schleifweg, Gillrath and then park anywhere on that street perpendicular to Schleifweg where the festival is held.
Selling: Fruit and streusel topped pastries, brick-oven bread, and grain breads. All baked fresh and from hand by the traditional methods.
This weekend Gillrath celebrated it’s annual “Brotfest” where a family on Schleifweg fires up the 150 year old stone oven and bakes obstfladen and frische brot.
It’s a local event with most of the town turning out. On Saturday they had more than 120 people show up at the little farm to crowd into the white canopied event tent by the oven house to drink beer, eat fladen, and grab loaves of freshly baked bread to take home.
On Sunday, we walked up there to see what was going on and to try a piece of the best obstfladen that I’ve ever tasted – a benefit, may be, of the stone oven? For 1 Euro, we got a generous piece of what is quite similar to pie – a nice cherry fladen with a generous streusel topping. It was still hot from the oven and falling apart on my fork, but absolutely delicious with my small cup of coffee.
The bread had sold out the day before, so we waited and waited for today’s batch. I took a photo of the uncooked bread as it waited for the ovens to heat – they bake the bread differently in the ovens than they bake the fladen for some reason. I eventually gave up, but our friends brought us a piece of sweet braided bread that evening – black. (I’m sure the non-blackened breads were delicious… so I suggest going early if you go.)
Once we pealed off the thick black top, the inside was soft, sweet, and delicious.
The event itself was fun. It was nice to see the entire community come and participate. I’m sure the Bitburger beer tent helped. And, although it was Sunday, the tent was still quite busy at 7pm when we drove by again. People will celebrate just about anything here – especially where there is food and beer involved.