A visit to Marion and Jürgen Brecht’s sweet shop, the Heidelberger Zuckerladen, tastes sweet and tangy—like a caramel that melts in your mouth. The place smells of aniseed, liquorice and of rotting wood. And it feels like a warm embrace.
Jürgen Brecht opens the wooden door with the brass doorknob from within the Zuckerladen shop. The door’s glass pane is hidden behind red velvet. “Come in,” says the man with the prominent glasses, treating you like an old acquaintance. He steps aside opening the view onto a hotchpotch of antiques, curiosities and sweets.
Hundreds of bonbonnières stand in line. Inside: little Coke bottles, smurfs, acid drops, wine gums, liquorice wheels. They are carefully lined up on a shelf that used to hold the bobbins of an invisible-mending service shop in much earlier times. Marion and Jürgen fixed the sliding elements of a cupboard to the ceiling at a slant. They hold issues of the Bild-Zeitung newspaper from the 1960s and a Hörzu magazine with the title: “First full-screen TVs available.” Each centimetre in the 70-squaremetre sales area exhales history. Or a personal story. Or even both. “We don’t follow a specific concept. The Zuckerladen has simply grown as such over the past few decades,” explains Marion. “It is an authentic place.”
The native of Speyer and her North German partner started their sweet business in 1986, on July 22nd. In a tiny shop, not far from this one. But a few years later they moved to Plöck number 52, where the Zuckerladen has been to this day. “Plöck” is a special road in the old town: it means ‘plot of land’ and refers to the three-field system used in medieval Heidelberg. The road runs parallel to the main road, the Hauptstraße, and is a mixture of pedestrian zone, cycleway and “normal” road. From here, you can get anywhere quickly in just a few-minutes’ walk: to Steingasse alley with its special shops, to the Kurpfälzisches Museum (museum of the Electoral Palatinate), to the art club, to the almost legendary gallery of Klaus Staeck, to Heidelberg University and its beautiful library or to Heidelberg Palace. The Plöck is home to numerous little shops, like gift shops or bakeries. And in the midst: the sweet shop whose offer of assortments ranges far beyond sweets.