If you find yourself in Munich with a hankering for your nan’s baked goods, a trip to Kuchentratsch (German for cake chat or gossip) should be high on the to-do list. Your grandma might not be there, but someone else’s will!
Founded by Katharina Mayer in 2015, the German bakery brands itself as a start-up helping retired pensioners stay active by providing them with part-time employment. The bakery is currently staffed by 35 opas and omas (grandpas and grandmas) over the age of 65, who craft old-fashioned cakes and other baked goods with love.
In an interview with German news site The Local, Mayer explains the idea for a social enterprise bakery grew from pondering what kind of society she’d like to live in as an elderly person. “I started by asking myself, ‘Where can you get a really good piece of cake?’ But I always got the best cake at my own granny’s,” she says. With Kuchentratsch, Mayer is hoping to “give elderly people a place to go where they [can] make contacts and meet new people, as well as a mini-job, so that they could earn something to supplement their pensions.”
According to the Kuchentratsch website, the bakery is a place where Munich’s senior citizens can experience “intergenerational exchange, communication and stability, as well as integration into social life”. By providing part-time work to seniors, Mayer is doing her bit to combat the challenges many face as they enter retirement – loss of social networks, income and a sense of purpose.
“Kuchentratsch offers a novel contact point for seniors, which is connected with a concrete task, the collective of baking cakes. This creates a link between employment, intergenerational exchange and networking, as well as financial gain," she says on the bakery's site. "The seniors experience fellowship, take responsibility and are part of a small but sophisticated company for which their ideas, knowledge and skills are of crucial importance.”
Excuse us while we retire to Munich and bake cakes in our twilight years.
Every day, a rotating roster of opas and omas bake tried-and-tested German recipes from scratch, like "Marmorkuchen (marble cake) von Oma Astrid", “Käsekuchen (cheesecake) von Opa Norbert” and "Schokobombe (chocolate bomb) von Oma Magdalene". The cakes are sent to various cafes across Munich, and can also be ordered online or at the bakery itself, along with baking courses and gift ideas. Cute!