UPDATE JULY 2011 : It seems that the gluten free treats are no longer being sold at Balzac. If you spot them, or something new, please let me know so I can update the blog.
Yes, your (probable) first reaction is correct, “Why on earth would someone review the Balzac Coffee chain?”. The answer is because, amazingly, they stock glutenfrei treats! I know, I did not believe it myself at first, why would a fairly bland coffee chain stock gluten free cakes in a city where practically 99% of the cafe’s do not?
But, thanks to one of my Berlin based gluten-spies, I found out that they actually do and I went off to investigate. I arrived on a grimy cloudy day in the Friedrichstraße branch, and was immediately greeted with this.A fairly standard cabinet offering of gluten-laced baked goods and sandwiches. Well, ok, it was a bit hopeful to expect them to have a cabinet stocked with gluten-less items, but one can live in hope. If you search a little harder though, you can find these tucked infront of the cash register.
Yummy Honeybuns Chocolate Caramel Shortbread, seemingly imported all the way from England! (all the labelling is in English). I can report they are as advertised and quite good indeed (although this may be due to the fact of not eating Chocolate Caramel Shortbread for almost 2 years). They’re a little softer than the gluten based ones, but still rather enjoyable.
Then (purely for review purposes of course) I later checked the Schönhauser Allee branch, with thankfully the same stock :
So, you know, I had to buy another one and eat it. I’ve also been reliably informed that the Naturkundemuseum branch in Mitte has them also.
In conclusion. Is it worth going? Yes. The coffee may not be great, but the fact that you can (almost) buy something from that tempting cabinet of gluten, it is well worth it.
As a collective list of all Berlin locations doesn’t exist so far, I’m waiting for word from the head office as to where you can buy these. Also, just why it is that they stock them and if they have plans to stock more. Fingers crossed.Balzac Coffee Confirmed Locations :
Friedrichstraße 125, 10117 Berlin
Schönhauser Allee 116 (approx location, its directly opposite the entrance to the arcaden), 10439 Berlin
Invalidenstraße 35 (approx location), 10115 Berlin