We were fortunate enough to be able to interview Ms. Kaoru Oberndorff and get to know her German sweets shop better.
In German, ‘schloss’ stands for castle and ‘bäckerei’ means bakery. When Ms. Kaoru Oberndorff came back to Japan after 8 years of living in Germany, she realized how it was rare to see German dishes in Japan. In hopes of getting rid of the stereotypical image of the traditional old Germany with sausages and beers, she decided to open this store. Therefore, ‘schloss’ in their name connotes more than just the traditional elegance of Germany. Just like their alliance store, ‘Schloss-Hotel Kittendorf’, who renovated itself from an ancient castle to a modern hotel, it is also about rediscovering the pop and casual side of the country.
‘Bonding’ is an integral part of Schloss-Bäckerei. Ms. Oberndorff explains that this is part of the reason why she is so grateful to have this store in Hiroo. She told us that instead of being thrown around by trends, people in this area judge things based on their true value. Because most of the residents of Hiroo have been living there for a long time, information gets passed around through the vast network the residents have. She explained that it was through this network that her store gained so many valuable regular customers, and even an offer from a magazine to be interviewed as well. While she was explaining this to us, an adorable poster behind her caught our eye. When we asked her what it was, she told us that it was the poster made by a girl in third grade who came here for a work experience. She smiled while saying that all the kids who came to her store for the work experience waves at her every time they pass by.
Her values to treasure connections with individual customers were also shown where she recounted the time when she customized a Halal birthday cake for an Islamic customer. As such, Schloss-Bäckerei is rooted deeply in Hiroo with the connection that they have with their community.
Furthermore, bonding is not limited to the interaction between humans. It also forms an important basis for their sweets, since most of the ingredients that they use are made in Japan. Take their signature cake, ‘Apfelkuchen’, for instance. Ms. Oberndorff said that it took some effort to find an apple with the right amount of sourness and size in Japan where most of the apples are big and sweet. Perhaps, the reason why their sweets taste so at-home while being loyal to the original German recipe is because of their effort to find the perfect spot that can deliciously bond the two cultures together.
“Spreading the tastiness of German sweets” is what makes Ms. Oberndorff passionate.
For example, marzipans originated in Germany. When we see them in Japan, it is usually treated as a decoration for cakes to be thrown away because it is too sweet. However, she explains that the authentic marzipans in Germany are nothing like that. The marzipans in Germany are 70% almond, and only a third of it is made up of sugar. Therefore, customers are surprised when they eat the marzipans by an authentic German sweets
manufacturer called Niederegger in their store for how lightly textured and delicious they are.
When people imagine what European sweets taste like, they often come up with a teeth-aching level of sweetness. However, German sweets are much gentler, which is also why customers find it surprising is that German sweets are not as sugary as they thought.
Overall, Ms. Oberndorff strongly states that she does not want people to be picky about German food because of the commonly held stereotypes before actually trying it out.
PIPE１F,5-19-2, Hiroo, Shibuya-ku,
Tokyo, 150-0012, Japan
11:00am - 7:00pm
Closed every Monday