EDITOR'S NOTE: A Taste of Germany is located on 5204 Ocean Blvd, Siesta Key.
When Tanja Hofmann opened her family’s Siesta Key bakery, A Taste of Germany, six months ago, she wasn’t sure she would have enough business to survive.
“It was really slow when it wasn’t in season,” she said. “I was really worried, because the place was so empty, but the local people really liked the authentic food, so they kept coming back to support us. I’m really grateful to them.”
Hofmann runs the bakery along with her husband, Maneul, and her 17-year-old son, Robin. The family, who hails from Germany, decided to move here after years of visiting her mother’s family in the U.S.
“We’ve been wanting to move to Florida and open a bakery for a while,” said Hofmann. “When we would visit, we noticed there was no place to get authentic German food, so after Robin finished German school, we decided it was time.”
Since opening, Hofmann has noticed an increasing demand for the bakery’s authentic German pastries, soups, sandwiches and bratwursts. To ensure that everything is as authentic as possible, Hofmann imports all her ingredients from Germany. A lot of her sweets are baked with quark, a kind of fresh cheese used in many German desserts, as opposed to cream cheese, or other heavier American ingredients.
“People really like the lighter taste of our cakes and pastries,” said Hofmann. “You get more of a refreshing taste than you do with cream cheese.”
As season picked up, the bakery saw more business from after-beach customers and tourists, and word started to spread about the Hofmanns and their homemade German treats.
“People who came here on vacation have gone back to Tampa and Orlando and told people about us,” Hofmann said. “We’ve even had a few German professors come in, because their students told them about us.”
Now, Hofmann jokes that her problems may involve keeping up with demand — a realistic possibility, as a man comes in to ask whether she could have 30 Kaiser rolls ready for him that afternoon.
Hofmann agrees with a laugh.
“I’ll have to call Manuel and tell him to bring more ingredients,” she said.