For people seeking the “real deal” when it comes to Oktoberfest food and drink, The Swiss Bakery and Pastry Shop should meet all their needs.
“It is extremely busy right now. This is like Christmas season for us,” said owner Laurie Weber.
Weber and her husband Reto stock their shelves with German, Austrian and Swiss grocery store products including imported mustard, sauerkraut, red cabbage, Bavarian chocolate, marzipan, wine, and, of course, beer. The couple also brings in authentic German sausages from an “old world” butcher in Baltimore.
But the big draw to The Swiss Bakery, with two locations in Springfield and Burke, is the European breads and pastries prepared every day.
“Both of our stores are destinations. People will tell us that they traveled an hour to get to us,” she said.
LAURIE WEBER, an American pastry chef, and Reto Weber, a Swiss baker, take pains to keep their prepared food solidly grounded in the European culinary tradition.
When the couple opened a new café at their Springfield store three months ago, they hired a Swiss chef to prepare the food. They also try to keep at least one European baker, currently a German, on staff at all times.
The couple has also taken two of their non-European pastry chefs on a trip to France, said Laurie Weber.
Customers come in all year round to get traditional German and Swiss food, like a hot Bavarian pretzel with Bavarian cheese spread. There is a market for such specialties in Fairfax County, especially among active and retired members of the American military.
“I have become aware of how much of the military has traveled in Europe. They all come in to find the thing they used to buy when they lived over there,” said Laurie Weber.
IN ADDITION to its regular fare, the Swiss Bakery does have special items on its menu this month in celebration of Oktoberfest.
For a limited time, the store is offering a larger selection of sausages — bratwurst, weisswurst, knockwurst and frankfurters — in the café and for take away. People dining in the café also have their choice of traditional German side dishes like sauerkraut, red cabbage, German potato salad and spatzle.
Through Oct. 23, The Swiss Bakery chef is also offering a weekly German special. Through Oct. 9, customers can purchase Schnitzel, a bread pork cutlet, according to the menu.
Patrons can also order apple strudel, lebkuchen heart (heart-shaped cookies), black forest cake and fondant cookies to serve at Oktoberfest in their own homes.
THE WEBERS are hosting their own Oktoberfest celebration at the store’s Springfield location in the Ravensworth Shopping Center Oct. 23. The party will feature samples of German beer and wine as well as apple strudel.
A few members of the traditional German band, Alte Kameraden, from the City of Fairfax will also perform outside the store.
The Swiss Bakery and Pastry Shop is located in the Ravensworth Shopping Center at 5224 Port Royal Road, Springfield; 703-321-3670. A second store is also open in the Burke Town Plaza at 9536 Old Keene Mill Road, Burke; 703-569-3670.