Not Your Aunt’s Pretzels
Spunky snacks at the North Market
By Amy FisherPublished April 1, 2011
A growing number of local food entrepreneurs seem to be following a trend of collaboration within the industry. From foodie carts and pop-up shops setting up at other businesses around town, to local restaurants and grocery stores offering locally made goods, the scope of Columbus’ food revolution is expanding daily.
The North Market provides the perfect umbrella for such collaborative efforts to bloom under. Bringing their own twist to the table as one of the newest additions to the bastion of local wares are the two ladies behind Br?zel. Up until recently, the Bavarian-style pretzel purveyors had been slaving away in their home kitchens to fill their growing number of clients’ orders.
Br?zel (the German word for pretzel) was founded by Brittany Baum and Maria Gentile, two ladies who met and became friends while working for the State of Ohio. After a fruitless search for the Bavarian-style pretzels that Brittany had fallen in love with during a visit to Germany, the duo decided to make their own. This venture soon became a passion as they grew their business over the next two years, selling their goods at local farmers markets, online and through other local businesses.
Their product isn’t a typical soft pretzel – it has a soft and moist interior protected by a perfectly tanned, crisp outer layer. The ladies of Br?zel do inspiring work, shunning the shortcuts that result in greasy mall food or bland ballpark offerings. Brittany describes their pretzels as “more dense and bread-like” than other pretzels, resulting in a tasty treat that’s “more of a meal than a snack.”
The Br?zel varieties range from classic offerings such as plain soft pretzels and pretzel chips to the more adventurous apple cinnamon, habenero, or artichoke and kalamata. Brittany and Maria are also open to custom orders, stating “if you can dream it, we can bake it.” The pretzels range in price from $4 to $4.50 each.
Several establishments around town are in cahoots with Br?zel. Hal and Al’s Bar and the Rad Dog food cart have been utilizing the locally made pretzel buns and pretzel bowls to serve their vegan fare, while R Bar serves a more traditional pretzel and cheese combination. The Hills Market and Global Gallery also carry the goods. Now the Br?zel-ettes are bringing their hand-rolled bites of Bavarian bliss to the North Market with their new stand set to open this month.
Moving the operation to the North Market also opens up a wealth of new menu options. Freedom from the restrictive laws for cottage industries opens Br?zel up to offer a wide variety of pretzel-themed dishes. New ideas include salads with pretzel croutons, dips, and sandwiches. The ladies of Br?zel also hope to collaborate with other North Market vendors for even more flavorful creations. Brittany enthusiastically hypothesized options such as, “pretzel pizza crust for Clever Crow, or pretzel chips for a Jeni’s Ice cream flavor.” They also hope that the open kitchen in the market will attract visitors, who can watch the mesmerizing process of the pretzels being hand rolled and twisted.
It’s not hard to imagine that these ladies might one day take on the country with their genuine passion for pretzels. If things continue progressing so well for the dynamic duo, Columbus will soon be just as proud of our handcrafted pretzels as we are of our nationally-renowned ice cream.
Brezel is located at 59 Spruce St. (North Market.) For more information, visit www.brezelpower.com.