Visit Edinburgh Bakery Falko Konditormeister

It was snowing in Bruntsfield when we dived into Falko Konditormeister. But that still doesn't explain the utter deliciousness of the hot chocolate we drank there.

Even allowing for the fact food always tastes better when you are hungry and cold, this cup of chocolate was especially good. It came in a glass with its own wafer-thin chocolate. Nestling on top of a sea of real cream (none of the frothy UHT stuff here, thank you very much). A dusting of chocolate powder reminded us of the snow outside.

The drink itself was thick, liquid and warming. Yet managed to escape the cloying sweetness that can ruin hot chocolate. It wasn't just me that was enchanted by Falko, the German bakers set up in Edinburgh by Falko Burkert and his partner Robert Linton. Even both my children sat in a rare moment of silence as they drank their kid-sized versions of hot chocolate.

Outside, snow fell on the Bruntsfield pavements. We were all quiet, save for the occasional sound of slurping. Any parent of an under-five can confirm the rarity of such an experience.

Falko Konditormeister - the name means master pastry chef - delivers top-notch baking quite at odds with most people's ideas of traditional Scottish fare. You won't find any greasy pies and stodgy white loaves here.

Instead, there are authentic German cakes and breads made to the highest standards. Joanna Blythman, food writer at the Sunday Herald, said its sachertorte is "as good as anything you'll find in Vienna's top coffee houses." Cakes, gateaux, breads, pretzels and chocolates draw a crowd of locals and visitors.

There are rings of cinnamon-scented 'baumkuchen', rows of loaves baked with wheat beer and sticky fruitbreads. In the glass counter are cream-laden delicacies made with local seasonal fruit.

If you think of Black Forest Gateau as an abomination of the 1970s, a trip to Falko's could make you think again. They make and sell the proper stuff here. With the regulation 10% kirsch in the whipped cream.

The Germans, as you might have gathered, view cake-making differently to us. In Germany, cake-baking is highly regulated. To open a cake shop, employ apprentices and call yourself a konditormeister, you must pass demanding exams and serve at least five years in the trade.

We should be grateful for such stringency. All that experience shows.

Falko Konditormeister, 185 Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh, EH10 4DG 0131 656 0763

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