Israeli Oren Dror has long had a great passion for a typical south German pastry. In his BrezelBar in Kreuzberg, he creates classic pretzels, and some coated in chocolate. For him, it's all about integrating.
"It is very romantic to be the first person up and about in Berlin every morning. It gives you the feeling you're making the most out of the day." Oren Dror, who was originally born in Israel, is an early bird – and a passionate pretzel baker.
Since 2009, the three small rooms of his BrezelBar in Kreuzberg have featured a comfortable reading lounge with newspapers and magazines, laptop stations with plugs and wireless Internet, temporary art exhibitions on the walls, and all kinds of pretzels – from the classic pretzel to chocolate-coated versions. The shop also offers catering and delivery services.
Oren Dror arrived in Berlin nearly 20 years ago. In Israel, young people often take time off to travel after completing their mandatory military service. Oren Dror took his trip to Berlin in 1999 – and ended up staying. He started by selling pretzels on the street and at concerts, and over the years he was able to build up his own small company – one which now boasts a complement of 24 employees.
But how did he decide on pretzels in the first place? "There is that old saying: 'When in Rome, do as the Romans do.' I think that has a lot to do with integration."
Top of the range
During his time in Berlin, Oren Dror fell in love with South German pretzels. He lights up when asked to delineate the differences between the Bavarian and Swabian ("I like them better because of the thin, crispy bits") varieties and when he explains that it's not just the dough that makes the pretzel – the storage method and the sensitive baking procedure are also key to quality.
What he loves most about gastronomy, which has been his dream career since childhood, is the direct nature of the profession. "Everything is real," he beams. "And if someone doesn't like your shop, then they just don't come."
But that's not much of a risk at the BrezelBar in the charming Bergmannkiez district. The pretzels are top of the range, the staff are friendly, and they even speak English.
Author: Martin Schwarz