25A Vernon St, South Kingsville. Phone: 0401 218 677
Les Sullivan is adamant – the term pretzel is nothing but an Americanisation of bretzel.
He likens it to a reference he once found to Dutch pretzels.
After a suitable amount of head-scratching he realised this, too, was an Americanisation … of Deutsch pretzels!
He laughs when I tell him the story – actually mostly an urban myth, but it rings true – that movie execs were forced to change the name of the movie The Madness of King George III for the American market.
I mean, who’d want to see it when they hadn’t already seen George I and George II?
Les, a South African, met his German wife, Annette, in his homeland some 35 years ago. He was an anti-apartheid social worker, she a mission worker arriving from Namibia.
Eventually, they moved to Australia to escape the brutal insanity of apartheid and the seemingly slim chances that anything there would ever change.
They’ve been at their Kingsville address for about a year, having before that run their bretzel business in Geelong.
As markets in and around Melbourne came to make up more and more of their business, they simply got sick of going up and down the highway.
As a Yarraville/Geelong commuter, I can sympathise!
They can sell up to 500 bretzels at a single market in a day.
Bennie and I have already eaten a beaut Vietnamese lunch, so share a simple cinnamon/sugar bretzel ($4), with a cafe latte for me and a hot chocolate for him.
It’s a subtle sweet treat when compared to, say, pastries and strudels from other parts of Europe. The sugar ‘n’ spice blend is just right and the texture of the bretzel itself both tender and chewy.
More flashy variants are available for $5, including one stuffed with Nutella and topped with choccy sprinkles.
Les explains that the sweet bretzels differ from their standard salted colleagues ($3) through the inclusion of milk and sugar in the dough.
The standard bretzels are made of just four and yeast.
Because of the authentic use of the term bretzels with a “B”, the Sullivans find a lot of customers get them confused with bagels.
It’s simple – bagels are boiled, bretzels are roasted.
“We are very passionate about our product,” Les says. “It’s not deep fried, it’s healthy and it’s different.”
Their simple German-style cafe attracts customers coming to the area specifically for a bretzel fix. They often leave disappointed, as the Sullivans are often at market, as they say.
They also win walk-up trade thanks to the proximity of the Famous Blue Rain Coat, which is right next door, and Motorino, which is a few doors up.
They’re always happy, however, to make coffees if on the premises and getting stuck into their substantial prep work.
Our brews were fine.
Phoning ahead would seem to be the right idea.
The Bretzel.biz Facebook page has all the details, including their market commitments.